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The Story of 

Overseas in World War II 




Copyright, 1945, by George Korson 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must 
not he reproduced in any form without permission. 

Government wartime restrictions on materials have made it essential 
that the amount of paper used in each book be reduced to a minimum. 
This volume is printed on lighter paper than would have been used 
before material limitations became necessary, and the number of words 
on each page has been substantially increased. The smaller bulk in no 
way indicates that the text has been shortened. 

This book is published on the same 
day in the Dominion of Canada by 
Longmans, Green & Company, Toronto. 






















XIV AT His SIDE 290 
INDEX 309 





World War II. Beginning with the Japanese invasion of China in 
1937, it provided relief for the victims of aggression as one country 
after another was invaded. In the Far East, in Europe, and through- 
out the Middle East, its foreign war relief operations kept alive 
millions of civilians, mostly children, with food, clothing, and medi- 
cal supplies. 

The same day that German troops crossed the Polish border, the 
organization offered help to that stricken country through the 
International Red Cross Committee at Geneva. Relief, supervised 
by an American Red Cross staff:, was distributed in the Government- 
General area, supplies being shipped from the United States through 
Italian ports. With Italy's entry into the war these ports were closed, 
and the Polish relief program, after available stocks had been ex- 
hausted, was discontinued. However, relief was extended to Polish 
refugees who fled to many countries. 

Relief to Great Britain exceeded by far that for any other coun- 
try. Aid began with a cash grant only a few hours after her declara- 
tion of war. Civilians bombed from their homes during the great 
air i;aids and refugees from Allied countries received the greater part 
of American Red Cross assistance. The American Junior Red Cross 
financed special nurseries for British children orphaned, maimed, or 
made homeless by German air attacks. The American Red Cross- 
Harvard University Hospital in England during 1941-1942 was pre- 
pared to fight epidemics if they had developed. 

An American Red Cross relief mission arrived in Moscow not long 
after the invasion of Russian soil. From then on, a continuous stream 
of supplies, most of them purchased with United States Government 
funds, went to Russia over the winding desert and mountain roads 
from the Persian Gulf, through the hazardous waters of the Arctic 
Ocean to Murmansk or across the Siberian steppes from Vladivostok. 
Russia became the second largest field of American Red Cross for- 
eign relief operations. 

The American Red Cross was at work in France before Its fall, 
and subsequently its activities were restricted to the unoccupied 
area where its workers supervised the distribution among civilians 
of six shiploads of food, clothing, and medicines. In May and June, 
1941, bread made from American flour was distributed in unoccu- 


pied France. Later, the organization's efforts were directed toward 
providing milk for French children and layettes for infants. 

Relief of various kinds was extended to many thousands of home- 
less refugees in Europe and throughput the Middle East. 

In nearly every invaded country, relief started immediately after 
the enemy's attack and was continued as long as the distribution 
could be supervised by an American Red Cross staff. Norman H. 
Davis, then chairman of the American Red Cross, insisted upon this 

It was a fortuitous circumstance that found Mr. Davis directing 
the Red Cross in the most crucial period of its history. A man with 
the rare combination of experience and vision, of warm human 
traits and executive ability, he enjoyed the confidence of most of the 
civilized world and the affection and admiration of his fellow coun- 

Chairman Davis was a roving ambassador for two wartime presi- 
dents, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in peace- 
time served under two other presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert 
Hoover. Most of his diplomatic missions in Europe concerned dis- 
armament and peace, ideals closest to his heart. By nature a gentle, 
good-humored man, he was willing to fight only for peace. When 
the cause of world peace seemed lost, he found solace in his appoint- 
ment by President Roosevelt to head the American Red Cross. That 
was in 1938. In a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt thanking her for her word 
of congratulation, Mr. Davis wrote: "I must say there is a humani- 
tarian and spiritual aspect to the Red Cross which makes a particu- 
larly strong appeal to me. Having worked earnestly for many years 
without any appreciable results to bring about disarmament and 
peace and thus to prevent human suffering, I am glad to devote my- 
self to the alleviation of human suffering which cannot be pre- 

As resolutely as he had fought for peace, Norman H. Davis threw 
himself into discharging the wartime mission of the Red Cross. 
Despite poor health, in 1943 he flew all over England, North Africa, 
and Sicily inspecting Red Cross installations and talking with Red 
Cross workers and American soldiers and officers. He gave of him- 
self unsparingly until the last day, July 2, 1944, when, a victim of 
overwork, he died at Hot Springs, Virginia. His death was mourned 

To fill the vacancy left by Mr. Davis' death, President Roosevelt, 
on July 13, 1944, appointed Basil O'Connor, distinguished lawyer 
and philanthropist, as the organization's tenth chairman. The fol- 

lowing December, Mr. O'Connor was reappointed, this time to the 
full term. 

Former law partner, trusted friend and advisor, Mr. O'Connor 
long had been in the President's confidence, and now he was en- 
trusted by him with the chairmanship of an organization that was 
close to Mr. Roosevelt's heart and to the hearts of countless Ameri- 
cans. To this exalted office, Mr. O'Connor brought personal qualities 
and experience that had won him distinction as a lawyer and as a 
national leader in the field of philanthropy, interreligious relations, 
and brotherhood. A man of vigor and boundless energy, serving as a 
volunteer, it was characteristic of him that only a few weeks after 
taking office, he flew across the Atlantic to observe Red Cross activi- 
ties on European battlefields at first hand and to learn from General 
Eisenhower and other military leaders how Red Cross services might 
be improved. 

Returning from Europe, Chairman O'Connor traveled thousands 
of miles visiting Red Cross chapters in various parts of the United 
States to report on his observations. He was determined to keep in 
close touch with the "grass roots" of his organization to report to 
them and in turn draw inspiration from them. His Red Cross creed 
is summed up in these words: 

"The very first thing that strikes me as Chairman of the Red Cross 
is the interest the American people have in it the pride with which 
they regard it the support they furnish to it and the belief they 
have in its continuing service to mankind. 

"The thought that the American Red Cross belongs to all the 
American people is the cardinal precept in my personal articles of 
faith in it. 

"The Red Cross is great, because it reflects and is sustained by an 
idea that is lodged in the emotions and in the consciousness of the 
masses of the people. That idea is the dignity of man, and the 
responsibility of all society toward its individual members. It is the 
interdependence of each of us upon his neighbor. It is the bond that 
unites all men of good will. 

"The Red Cross does not exist because of the desire of a few of 
the people to help the many. It exists because it is the will of all of 
the people to help themselves. That is the fundamental upon which I 
think the administration of the affairs of the Red Cross should be 

Through the many months of uncertainty as the United States was 
drawn nearer the vortex of war, there was a growing awareness 


within the Red Cross of an impending crisis. This led to the prepara- 
tion of plans that were put into effect immediately after the declara- 
tion of war. Tremendous demands suddenly were made upon the 
organization. As an auxiliary of the armed forces, it was called upon 
to perform a variety of vital services for the Army and Navy on 
the home front and overseas. Expansion far beyond any point in its 
history was required. 

To finance this tremendous program an appeal for a $50,000,000 
war fund was made soon after Pearl Harbor. This amount the people 
generously oversubscribed. They responded similarly to 1943 and 
1944 appeals, bringing the American Red Cross total war fund to 
more than $420,000,000, the largest amount ever raised by voluntary 
contributions in this, or any other, country. 

Immediately after Pearl Harbor millions of men and women 
turned to the Red Cross for training to qualify for various civilian 
defense posts under the Office of Civilian Defense. Six months later 
three million persons had earned their first-aid certificates. Thou- 
sands of nurses were recruited for service in the Army and Navy 
Nurse Corps. Thousands of trained nurses' aides helped fill the gap 
by serving in civilian and veterans' hospitals. Face to face with the 
shortage of doctors and nurses, women by the hundreds of thou- 
sands qualified for Red Cross Home Nursing certificates. Dietitian's 
aides volunteered for civilian hospital work. Thousands of troops, 
preparing for amphibious warfare, took the Red Cross functional 
swimming and water-safety training. 

Red Cross volunteer production workers made hundreds of mil- 
lions of surgical dressings, knitted sweaters and other comfort articles 
requested by the armed forces, sewed millions of relief garments, 
and sewed and packed millions of kit bags. Volunteer women and 
girls packed millions of Red Cross standard food packages consigned 
to the International Red Cross Committee at Geneva for distribution 
to American prisoners of war and civilian internees in enemy camps 
and to other United Nations prisoners of war. Other volunteers 
drove cars, ambulances, and trucks, served many thousands of meals 
to troops and civilian disaster victims. Home Service workers helped 
care for the families of servicemen and women in financial or other 

Valuable as were these contributions they could not be compared 
to the people's giving of blood for the armed forces through the 
Red Cross. This transcended any other volunteer service on the 
home front. It was the gift of life itself. 

The gigantic effort on the home frontthe generous outpouring 
of time and energy on the part of some 6,500,000 Red Cross volun-* 

teers constituted preparation and implementation for the battles of 
the nation's fighting forces overseas. Serving with them were more 
than seven thousand Red Cross men and women who had been put 
through an intensive course of orientation and training in a "mercy" 
school at Washington, D. C. 

From every state, from the territories, from the insular possessions 
came an unending procession of enrollees. Selected on the basis of 
education, experience, and qualities of leadership, without distinction 
of race, creed, or color, they were as representative a body of earnest 
Americans as may be found anywhere. Some wore campaign ribbons 
of World War I. Many had sons, daughters, or husbands in this war, 
some as prisoners of war. Many of the men were over the draft 
age or were physically unfit for actual fighting. But all were eager 
to participate in the war. 

Starting with the pioneers who, before Pearl Harbor, were with 
the United States garrison troops on naval bases leased from the 
British, and those who accompanied the first task forces to Iceland 
and Northern Ireland, Red Cross workers went out with many 
troop transports from the United States. They went with the troops, 
literally, to the ends of the earth. 

Through the activities of these workers, this book endeavors to 
tell the story of American Red Cross overseas operations in World 
War II. I am far from unmindful of the importance of the Red Cross 
home-front program, but that is a big story in itself, demanding a 
book all its own. 

My principal sources for At His Side were: returned overseas 
workers whom I interviewed at National Headquarters; story ma- 
terial submitted from the various war theaters by Red Cross staff 
correspondents; official narrative reports from overseas workers in 
various parts of the world; and the Red Cross- Courier ^ informative 
and readable official magazine. To all these men and women, and to 
the "Red Cross Courier's able editor, Alwyn W. Knight, my sincere 

For making accessible to me all pertinent official Red Cross docu- 
ments, and for making it possible for me to interview returned 
workers, I am deeply grateful to the following top executives 
charged with the direction of the gigantic Red Cross overseas pro- 

National Headquarters, Washington, D. C.: Richard F. Allen, 
Vice-Chairman in charge of Insular and Foreign Operations; Robert 
E. Bondy, Administrator, Services to the Armed Forces; Don C. 
Smith, Deputy Administrator, Services to the Armed Forces; Walter 
Wesselius, Assistant to the Vice-Chairman, Insular and Foreign Op- 


erations; William S. Hepner, Director, Military and Naval Welfare 
Service; and Thomas M. Dinsmore, Assistant Director, Military and 
Naval Welfare Service. 

War theater heads: Harvey D. Gibson, Commissioner to Great 
Britain and Western Europe; Charles K. Gamble, Commissioner to 
the Southwest Pacific; Stanton Griffis, Comrnisioner to Pacific Ocean 
Areas; Stirling Tomkins, Delegate to North Africa-Italy; Robert C. 
Lewis, Director of Operations, China-Burma-India; and Raymond 
R. Fisher, Director of Operations, Middle East. 

I also wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the following 
members of the special Red Cross editorial committee who took time 
off from their busy duties to read the manuscript and to advise me: 
Mr. Wesselius; G. Stewart Brown, Vice-Chairman in charge of 
Public Relations; Howard Bonham, Director of Public Relations; 
and Mrs. Katherine Lewis, Assistant Director of Publicity and 
Foreign Editor. 

To all my National Headquarters' associates, too numerous to list 
here, who so generously co-operated with me, and who bore so 
patiently the added burden of having one of their number in the 
throes of book writing, my sincere thanks. 

George Korson 
Washington, D. C. 
January, 1945 



Chapter I 





on Pearl Harbor, the American Red Cross was in action, 

December 7, 1941, had begun with the usual bright sunshine, 
giving promise of another quiet Hawaiian Sabbath. Aboard the great 
warships berthed at the naval piers or lying in the calm inner waters 
of Pearl Harbor, as well as at the Army's forts, camps, and airfields, 
signs of life had slackened off. 

As the Japanese air armada sped through the clouds, servicemen 
not on duty were planning to spend a day of leisure. Honolulu's 
civilian residents were waking to the relaxed and easy tempo of their 
Sunday mornings. Those who had risen were either at breakfast, 
in church, in their" automobiles getting out to the sunlit beaches, golf 
courses, tennis courts and baseball grounds, or working in their 

From the elevated balcony of the Aloha tower at the waterfront 
the city of Honolulu rolled over the broad coastal plain toward the 
mountain slopes with their sugar-cane and pineapple fields. The 


bright morning sun glinted upon Aloha's great clock ticking away 
the precious final minutes of easygoing peace. 

The hands of the clock stood at 7:55 when the enemy planes 
dropped their first bombs. 

Oahu's principal military and naval installations were attacked 
simultaneously by Japanese planes based on aircraft carriers lying 
out at sea. There were three separate attacks, the first at seven fifty- 
five, the second a half -hour later, and the third, which was beaten 
back, three hours after the first. Each time the enemy raiders used 
the same tactics over the primary targets: Japanese dive bombers 
dipped and dove out of the sky to drop their explosives; high-level 
bombers synchronized their blows with the dive bombers'; torpedo 
planes hurled armor-piercing torpedoes on the warships; and low- 
altitude planes came in with streams of machine-gun fire. 

The heaviest, most devastating blows fell on the great naval base. 
As the calm harbor waters turned into a cauldron of burning oil, 
the sky was filled with smoke and flames, and gun crews manned 
their battle stations on decks buckling with heat. 

Bombs also rained down on Hickam Field adjoining Pearl Harbor 
and the other airfields on Oahu Island. Hangars, and planes concen- 
trated* on concrete aprons, offered tempting targets as the Japanese 
swooped down out of the sky. 

While soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen fought and died, the 
families of many of them were exposed to the same enemy strafings 
and bombings. Hundreds of wives and children in the flaming areas 
around Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field huddled in their island 
cottages. Those who escaped injury suffered from the effects of the 
wholesale devastation lack of food, water, clothing, and in cases, 
shelter and were haunted by uncertainty regarding the fate of their 
heroic husbands and fathers. 

Japanese planes were over Honolulu, too, that Sunday morning. 
They swept in from the sea by way of Diamond Head, thundered 
and whined over Waikiki Beach and the city. They flew so low 
that the Rising Sun emblem on their wings was plainly visible from 
the streets. Rooftop-scraping planes sprayed machine-gun fire on a 
bewildered, fear-stricken people. Mothers huddled in doorways try- 
ing to protect their babies from the fire-spitting enemy. Driving to 
prearranged emergency tasks, American Red Cross workers saw the 
shattered bodies of children, and of men and women who had been 
riddled by enemy bullets or wounded by antiaircraft shell frag- 

Hawaii on that tragic day was not merely an outpost of America. 
It was a symbol representing the honor, dignity, and fiber of Ameri- 
cans. All racial end national differences were quickly merged in the 
common bond of defense. From that day Hawaiians joined the proud 
company of the people of London, Chungking, and Stalingrad, who 
in the testing hour had proved their unity. 

And through the darkness of Hawaii's travail, the Red Cross em- 
blem shone as a beacon of hope. To the wounded, the sick, the 
homeless and hungry-young and old, regardless of race, creed, 
or color the Red Cross carried the sympathy and help of the 
whole American people. Known for its traditional works of 
mercy, for its miracles of restoration in peacetime disasters, the Red 
Cross had the people's faith, and its emblem calmed and comforted 

At Pearl Harbor the American Red Cross was represented by its 
Hawaii chapter, made up of local volunteer men, women, and chil- 
dren, aided by a few Red Cross workers from National Headquar- 
ters. Through a vast network of chapters and branches, the Red 
Cross covers virtually every part of the United States, its territories 
and insular possessions. In peace or war, it is always where disaster 
strikes. There is a saying that the Red Cross does not have to go 
there; it is there. 

Plans for a possible enemy air attack were perfected long before 
December 7. Some 2,000 civilians in the Hawaiian Islands, including 
doctors and dentists, had received Red Cross first-aid training. Under 
Mrs. A. V. Molyneux, production chairman, Red Cross women vol- 
unteers had put in long hours rolling surgical dressings and sewing 
hospital garments in quantities far in excess of their quotas. These, 
together with a great quantity of clothing, food, and medical sup- 
plies, had been quietly stored in widely separated sections of Hono- 
lulu against the^ day of their need. The canteen corps and motor 
corps were well organized and trained, and even the Junior Red 
Cross was prepared for its part. 

Therefore there was confidence, even with disaster all around, 
as Chairman Alfred L. Castle of the Hawaii chapter met with work- 
ers at the city hall to put prearranged plans into effect. Mr. Castle, 
Hawaiian businessman who had been in Red* Cross field service dur- 
ing the First World War, held a firm grip on the many intricate 
details involved in meeting the needs of this disaster. By his side, 
dressed in her trim gray uniform and officer's cap, was Mrs. Herman 
von Holt, director of the chapter's Volunteer Special Services, who 
mobilized and directed the Red Cross women volunteers. Also pres- 
ent were W. S. Allen, Jr., chapter executive director, and Red Cross 

Field Director John F. Gray, who doubled as chapter executive 

For civilian defense workers, the canteen corps under the leader- 
ship of Mrs. Vernon Tenney and Mrs. Wayne Pflueger set up a 
canteen in the basement of the lolani Palace, royal residence of 
Hawaii's kings before the revolt of 1893 and now Territorial capitol. 
The Red Cross girls who worked behind the serving table in twelve- 
hour shifts came from every walk of life. Passing before them in an 
almost continuous file, hour after hour around the clock, were the 
hundreds of defenders sentries off duty, men on vital work in and 
around the palace grounds, the disaster council and staff who came 
over from the armory, dispatch riders, ambulance drivers, and emer- 
gency-truck drivers. 

The story of this canteen was told by Mrs. Tenney in her chapter 

At ten o'clock, the canteen was called to duty. At one P.M. 
we were serving sandwiches and hot coffee. 

From that time until the xyth of December [when the real 
emergency was over] we worked in two shifts on twenty-four 
hour duty. 

Two of our canteen committee, Miss Juliet Carpenter and Miss 
Renee Halbedl, volunteered on the ni'ght of the seventh to stay 
n duty for as long as they were needed. 

It seemed doubtful if they could function after dark, but func- 
tion they did, without stopping by flashlight rising above such 
minor shocks as a gun going off in their midst. Some poor ex- 
hausted rookie had trustfully propped his rifle against the wall, 
probably with the safety off, and a jar had sent a bullet through 
the roof. 

They went for more food and hot coffee in a truck without 
lights, crawling through black streets never knowing when some 
nervous youngster on guard duty might shoot without asking any 
questions or when enemy raiders might arrive overhead. 

The next day permanent space was allotted to us in the base- 
ment of one of our government buildings [lolani Palace], The 
menu was increased to include soup, hot cocoa, hot cereal and 
fruit juices. The number fed increased from 300 in the first 
twenty-four hours to 1,000 in the same period. With the volun- 
teer aid from four Chinese restaurant cooks, we were able to 
serve full dinners in the middle of the day. 

Our canteen soon became the meeting place at night for every 
one who could snatch a few minutes from their work for a little 

sustenance, the rendezvous for the guards when off duty, a haven 
for patrols who came in chilled and fatigued from lack of sleep, 
for the Medical Unit and the Emergency Police. We sent meals 
all over town to people who could not leave their posts RCA 
operators, telephone operators, and others. 

By the fourth night the natural gaiety of the Hawaiians reas- 
serted itself. The Territorial Guard brought their ukeleles with 
them, and when off duty relieved the tension with old and new 
hulas, popular music and school songs. 

We could not have carried on without the volunteers who 
worked as canteen aides the lei women who washed dishes, the 
Boy Scouts who helped them, and the truck drivers who trans- 
ported supplies for us at all odd hours. 

In Honolulu injured civilians, including many children, were 
Created at the first-aid stations of the Honolulu County Medical So- 
ciety. They were staffed by doctors, nurses, and Red Cross volun- 
teers who worked tirelessly for many hours the day of the attacks. 
On succeeding days and nights they served on twelve-hour shifts 
while waiting tensely for a renewal of the Japanese air raids. 

Many civilian casualties were taken to Honolulu's Queens Hos- 
pital, where the surgery and first-floor emergency room were scenes 
of horror. Some were laid on boards supported by chairs and tables 
as there were not enough beds for all. At nightfall, owing to the 
strict blackout, all signal lights were discontinued, flashlights were 
covered with blue cellophane, and blankets were draped over the 
windows near seriously ill patients so that dim lights might be used. 
Many Red Cross nurses were on duty in Queens Hospital. , - 

There were also many volunteer civilian nurses from the Red 
Cross registry at the Hickam Field station hospital, in the Army's 
Tripler General Hospital, in the U.S. Naval Hospital at Pearl 
Harbor and on the Navy's hospital ship, Solace. They worked with 
members of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps, many of whom had 
been recruited for war service by the American Red Cross. 

Nurses gave hypodermics, administered blood plasma, dressed 
burns, sutured wounds, and helped the hard-pressed surgeons with 
their frequent operations. Performing these emergency tasks with 
only the faint blue light of a dimmed flashlight was both difficult 
and unnerving. Many of the girls worked until they dropped from 
exhaustion, and they slept in their uniforms so that they would be 
ready for instant duty when called. 

Tripler General Hospital received a constant stream of casualties 
from Hickam Field, one of the worst of the bombed areas. Walter 

Wesselius, American Red Cross executive, witnessed the bombings 
from the rear porch of this hospital and pitched in to help. A pa- 
tient, he was being treated for malaria contracted in China while 
serving as director of China Relief. 

Red Cross field director at Tripler was Mrs. Margaret H. Lutz, 
a native of the Hawaiian Islands. Formerly stationed at the Walter 
Reed Hospital, in Washington, D. C, Mrs. Lutz had come only a 
few weeks before to inaugurate a Red Cross program for hospitalized 
soldiers. Her recollections follow: 

December 7, 1941. 1 was awakened about 8 o'clock by a neigh- 
bor's radio, and recognized the voice of my friend Webley Ed- 
wards of KGMB, one of the two local radio stations. He was 
saying, "This is no joke! This is the real McCoy! We are being 
attacked! Stay off the streets and the telephone. Keep calm, keep 
calm, keep calm!" 

I dressed hurriedly and drove down to the hospital with my hus- 
band. Everything in the city was in turmoil. At the hospital my 
husband and I were guided to the parking space outside the mili- 
tary reservation. 

The first person we saw was a corpsman, Corporal McLean. 
"Oh, my God, Mrs. Lutz, ain't it awful!" he said. Ambulances 
were bringing in casualties from Hickam Field. Blood was every- 
where. Bloody clothing that had been cut from wounded bodies 
lay in piles along the corridors. 

When I asked the Adjutant what I could do, he said, "If you 
have any cigarettes, give them out. The boys have been asking 
for them." 

We broke open the seals of two cases and passed out cigarettes 
freely. In the halls I met our secretary, Helene Pesante, working 
on the wards after having made several trips from Honolulu to 
Pearl Harbor with sailors whose liberty had been cancelled by the 
Japanese attack. She burst into tears, hung on my neck, and said, 
"They are bombing our ships." 

Patients who could be moved were transferred to a school build- 
ing about a mile and a half away. The wards were miraculously 
cleared for casualties. We walked through the wards giving out 
cigarettes and drinks of water. Several beds held boys who were 
beyond human help. After each bed had been vacated, we got 
fresh linen and made it up for the next occupant. And all the time 
the Jap planes were overhead strafing the hospital. They killed a 
patient who was helping unload an ambulance, and shot holes in 
the roof of the surgery and dental offices. 


My thoughts went to the Gray Ladies and how I wished* we 
had some who could help us. I knew of one who had been trained 
as a Gray Lady at the Walter Reed Hospital when I was there. 
She was Mrs. Frank J. McCarthy (Gladys McCarthy, who was 
later employed as a Red Cross recreation worker oa the profes- 
sional staff of the mobile unit at Aiea). While her husband, an 
Army officer, was on duty in Honolulu she was alone at home 
on the other side of the island [Oahu] where I reached her by 
long-distance telephone. She promised to join me at the hospital 
in the morning. 

December 8, 1941. This was another terrible day. My husband 
and I arose at 4:30 A.M. and cooked eggs under small blue lights, 
the only ones allowed in the blackout. As no cars were allowed 
to have lights, we drove in total darkness at about ten miles an 
hour. When we reached School Street, Japs started strafing and 
my husband pulled the car under a banyan tree. "Lie on the floor," 
he yelled. I did as I was told. We stayed in this position for half 
an hour. The strafing suddenly stopped, and we went on, he to 
his work and I to mine. 

When I arrived at the hospital I found Mrs. McCarthy already 
there. We had between 400 and 500 casualties from Hickam, all 
of whom had lost their personal belongings in the battle. Mrs. 
McCarthy with her gray uniform and veil went to work imme- 
diately helping me pass out toothbrushes and tooth paste. At one 
bed I asked a patient if he would care for a toothbrush. His face 
lit up as if I had offered him a million dollars. "Lady," he said, 
"would I like a toothbrush!" On succeeding days Mrs. McCarthy 
and I continued distributing Red Cross toilet articles, cigarettes, 
pipe tobacco, and reading material to patients and duty personnel, 
enlisted and commissioned. 

Many patients and almost all hospital personnel wished to get 
word to their families on the mainland that they had survived 
the raid. As they were all ordered to stay on post and the cable 
companies were forbidden by the Military Governor to take mes- 
sages over the telephone, it was the job of the Red Cross to meet 
this need. Therefore, I assigned Mrs. Ruth Benny, our recreation 
worker, to this task. It was announced over the loud speaker that 
the Red Cross was making this service available to anyone who 
wished it. The line formed down the hall from our office, and 
that first day we had nearly 200 messages. 

About Wednesday cable messages began to pour in from frantic 
^relatives on the mainland who had been notified by the War De- 
partment. These messages I attended to myself, first interviewing 

the doctor in charge of each patient concerned and then the pa- 
tient. Wires of necessity had to be brief, but I tried my very 
best to give some word of cheer to those anxious relatives and to 
let them know that the Red Cross was at the side of their 
wounded sons, husbands, and sweethearts. 

One message I well remember sounded more anxious than all 
the others. It was impossible to contact the doctor at the moment, 
so I sought out the patient. He was assisting in the care of other 
patients on the ward. When I told him that his mother was 
anxious about him, he became very angry. "Do you mean to tell 
me that they notified my mother and worried her when all I've 
got is a broken finger on my left hand?" 

I explained that the War Department was most particular to 
notify their nearest of kin in all battle casualties. 

"Well, you can tell my mother there ain't nothing wrong with 
me, and I'm going out to get me a Jap." 

The way the wounded took it on the chin had everyone's re- 
spect. There was no moaning nor cries for help. The most fre- 
quent request from badly wounded soldiers was, "Let my mom 
know I'm O.K." 

Meanwhile, at the U.S. Naval Hospital, another field director, 
Miss Nell Ennis, veteran World War I Red Cross worker, was 
going without sleep and change of clothing to perform emergency 
duties. Throughout the first day and night, and daily for weeks 
after, she gave devoted service to hospital patients. 

I was having breakfast in my hotel that morning, and immedi- 
ately hurried down to the Naval Hospital to offer my services to 
the Commanding Officer. 

In a matter of minutes the hospital changed from a quiet, well- 
organized institution to one of intensive activity. 

The Red Cross office was in the basement of one of the wings 
next to a dressing station. At first I was the only Red Cross 
worker on duty, and spent much time making beds. As soon as 
a casualty was taken away to the operating room, I would turn 
the blood-soaked mattress and put clean, fresh linen on it. 

There being a desperate shortage of nurses at the Naval Hos- 
pital, I was requested by the Commanding Officer to visit the 
Queens Hospital in Honolulu and recruit volunteer civilian nurses. 

'The response was overwhelming. From December 7 to New 
Year's Day, 144, many of them Red Cross nurses, gave their off 
days and nights to the Naval Hospital. 


Doctors and nurses kept requesting Red Cross toilet gear for 
their patients. With the aid of my Gray Ladies I was able to dis- 
tribute comfort articles from our own stock room and additional 
supplies from the Hawaii chapter. The chapter mushroomed over 
night with seemingly unlimited supplies and resources. 

On Tuesday morning, the 9th, I was trying to make a patient 
comfortable on the lainae when I suddenly heard airplane motors 
overhead. The patient, horribly burned and almost lifeless, looked 
up and murmured, "Don't worry, Red Cross, those are our planes. 
You can't fool me on their sound." By noon he was dead. 

Several days before Christmas, a young sailor said, "What, no 
Christmas tree?" I sensed that his question reflected the feeling of 
the rest of the patients, and so decided to arrange for a Christmas 
party in the hospital. Christmas trees and trimmings obtained from 
Honolulu stores by our Gray Ladies decorated the wards. One 
of the medical officers played Santa Glaus in a Santa suit borrowed 
from the Salvation Army. He went from ward to ward using a 
blue flashlight in the blackout. He also visited the children in their 
dugout and gave them each a toy, a gift of the Junior Red Cross, 

There was a young sailorwe'll call him Bill who we were 
sure wasn't more than fifteen years of age. Very ill yet uncom- 
plaining, he was the favorite of all of us. In giving his history 
to one of the doctors, he said he was "Nineteen, sir." 

The doctor asked over and over again the question, "How old 
are you, Bill?" to get the kid to tell his right age. But the answer 
was always the same, "Nineteen, sir." 

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who visited the Naval Hospital 
when each new load of casualties arrived, was told about Bill. He 
took the boy's hand and asked, "How old are you, Bill?" 

"Nineteen, sir," 

The Admiral smiled and said, "Regardless of your age, Bill, 
you're a good sailor, the bravest and best, and we are proud of 

Bill, a smile on his lips, died shortly afterwards. 

Red Cross workers, nurses, and corpsmen, all working as a team, 
helped naval doctors write a heroic chapter in American medical 
history. Directed by Captain Reynolds H. Hayden, then command- 
ing officer of the U.S. Naval Hospital, medical officers cared for 
nearly 1,000 casualties within the first sixteen hours after the initial 
air attack at the rate of a man a minute. For several days the most 
seriously wounded were operated on in the hospital's amphitheater 
by surgery teams working in ceaseless relays. 


More than sixty per cent of the cases were burns, chiefly "flash" 
bums that occur when the body has been exposed to the source of 
injury for as short a time as a second or two. 

The use of sulfa drugs marked a revolutionary step in their treat- 
ment. Patients suffering from burns were treated by spraying a mix- 
ture of mineral oil and sulfanilamide on the burned surfaces with 
ordinary flit guns; at the same time, large doses of sulfathiazole 
were given by mouth as a further aid in preventing infection. 

Even more dramatic than the revolutionary sulfa drugs was the 
dried plasma, processed from blood collected by the Red Cross, and 
used for the first time on a large scale. Many hundreds of casualties 
were unconscious from shock. Not one of the great healers of the 
past would have given them a chance to live; by all the former rules 
of medicine they were doomed to die. But, through the miracle of 
blood plasma, men who even a few months before would have died 
of burns, infection, or shock, came back to live, to work, and per- 
haps, to fight again. 

An extraordinary record was made by the Hawaii chapter's motor 
corps. Its forty members, most of them wives of Army and Navy 
personnel, were fully prepared for their emergency duties. For many 
months, under the farsighted leadership of their captain, Mrs. Good- 
ale Moir, they had received first-aid training with emphasis on the 
emergency delivery of babies. They had practiced military drills 
and blackout driving; had taken part in gas and chemical warfare 
demonstrations; and a course in automobile mechanics enabled them 
to handle a private car, station wagon, truck, or ambulance with 
equal skill and dexterity. 

In prewar days, members of the motor corps took convalescents 
from nayal and Army hospitals on semi- weekly drives. In this way 
they became well known at the Navy Yard and on the Army posts, 
while familiarizing themselves with the location of hospitals and 
emergency centersan experience that proved invaluable during the 
emergency period. 

Soon after the first Japanese bombs fell, Mrs. Moir began calling 
in her corpswomen by telephone from all parts of the island. By 
two o'clock the women, in their trim gray gabardine uniforms with 
tin helmets and gas masks strapped to their shoulders, were mobi- 
lized. Their home for the duration was the Castle kindergarten, an 
old landmark in downtown Honolulu, which had offices, a large 
kitchen, and a dormitory. During the first few weeks the entire 
corps worked every possible hour, with a considerable number re- 
maining on duty continuously for days. 

Their first assignment on December 7 was the delivery of Red 

Cross surgical dressings and medical supplies to the Army and naval 
hospitals and civilian emergency hospitals set up in school and gov- 
ernment buildings. Their uniform was recognized and respected 
everywhere. These women were accustomed to driving in wind 
and storm, and now they were on the firing line, not knowing the 
fate of their soldier or sailor husbands as they drove through the 
tumult of machine-gun fire and the splatter of shrapnel. 

The corps' biggest single mission was the removal to safety of 
hundreds of civilians trapped in the bombed areas surrounding Pearl 
Harbor and Hickam Field. The majority were women and children 
the families of Army and Navy personnel and defense workers 
whose desperate plight touched their compassion. 

Most of the evacuation took place after the sun had set in the 
blue Pacific, ushering in Hawaii's first total blackout. Honolulu was 
so completely blacked out that the corpswomen were haunted by 
fear of head-on collisions. They will never forget the weird black 
stillness that settled over Honolulu that first night, the stillness of a 
seemingly dead city. Behind blacked-out windows and doors life 
was charged with high tension. Rumors of enemy parachutists, mys- 
terious short-wave radio operators, and many fantastic happenings 
shook the people. 

The same nervousness affected some of the youthful Territorial 
guards who fired aimlessly in the dark. Their stray bullets worried 
the overworked corpswomen groping through the black streets with 
precious human lives in their vehicles. 

Many trips were made back and forth between Honolulu and the 
danger zones, the women bringing refugees and immediately return- 
ing for more. Each car carried a first-aid kit, splints, blankets/ extra 
clothing, food, and drinking water, all of which were used when 
necessary. Hour after hour this shuttle service went on uninterrupt- 
edly until finally, at three o'clock in the morning, the last group of 
three thousand refugees had been removed from danger. 

Not until then did these angels of mercy, exhausted, their eyes 
red from lack of sleep, have time to think of themselves. 

Evacuees were taken to private homes or housed in hotels, schools, 
and government buildings previously designated as refugee centers. 
There, other Red Cross workers took care of them. Those suffering 
from slight injury or shock received first-aid treatment. Warm gar- 
ments and blankets were distributed among them; also pencils and 
paper on which to scribble "all's well" messages to be telegraphed 
or radioed to anxious relatives on the mainland. 

Red Cross workers moved about the restless refugees all through 
the first night and for many nights after, comforting crying chil- 


dren, calming their mothers' frayed nerves, and easing pain and dis- 
comfort in countless other ways. 

The Red Cross information service helped servicemen locate their 
wives and children from whom they had become separated, and re- 
lieved anxious families in Hawaii and on the mainland with reports 
of the condition of their wounded in the hospitals. And the Red 
Cross gave financial assistance to the stranded families of Army 
and Navy personnel. 

The canteen corps served three meals a day to 1,500 evacuees until 
relieved of the responsibility by a government agency. 

There were still other opportunities for Red Cross service when 
a mass evacuation to the mainland was begun in mid-December. 

Aboard the first ship carrying civilian refugees from Honolulu 
were scores of burned and wounded Navy men. Just before the ship 
weighed anchor the Hawaii chapter received an urgent call from 
the U.S. Navy for nurses to relieve the critical shortage aboard 
the vessel. Within two hours chapter officials located fourteen regis- 
tered nurses who volunteered to serve even though they had no time 
to go home for personal belongings. They went directly to the ship 
and reported for duty. When the ship docked in San Francisco 
on Christmas Day, service cases were taken to military hospitals, 
civilian injured to city hospitals. Able-bodied civilians were given 
every assistance by the San Francisco chapter of the American Red 
Cross. Children in the group were treated to a Christmas party by 
Red Cross women and received candy and toys. 

Many other ships carried civilians to the mainland. To help evac- 
uees bear the cold weather when they debarked in San Francisco 
or other Pacific coast ports, the Hawaii chapter sent cases of warm 
clothing, sweaters, and other knitted garments to every ship. These 
articles, together with toys for children, were distributed by Red 
Cross workers sailing with the evacuees. 

To facilitate the latter's return to their home towns with the least 
discomfort, the Red Cross operated a shuttle service. Home Service 
workers sailed to Honolulu to return on the evacuation ships. Dur- 
ing the homebound voyage, evacuees were grouped regionally. 
Workers accompanied them to distribution points in various parts 
of the United States. From most of these points it was only a short 
trip to their homes or the homes of relatives. 

The chain of Red Cross service was unbroken across land and 
water, as experienced by Mrs. Daniel Larson, of Mankato, Minne- 
sota. Mrs. Larson and her three children family of a naval officer 
were at their home in the Pearl Harbor area when the Japanese 
planes first attacked* 

Our house was only 150 feet from the battleship Arizona when 
it was sunk. When I realized that an attack was on, my first 
reaction was anxiety for the children. I made a dash for the base- 
ment with them. I had just gotten to the bottom of the basement 
stairs when a bomb hit the Arizona. The explosion broke all the 
glass in the bedroom from which the children had just been re- 
moved It was through the Red Cross that I got my child to 

the hospital after he had contracted a severe Chest cold. The other 
children and I were taken to the home of a Red Cross worker 
who furnished the children with clothes and even toys. 

A week after the bombings, Mrs. Larson and the three children 
were among evacuees taken by a U.S. Navy bomber to San Diego, 
California, where they were met by local chapter workers. 

The Red Cross wired my parents in Mankato. Red Cross 
workers took me shopping for warm clothing for the children, 
bought my tickets, took me to the station, helped me with the 
children and arranged with a train porter to take care of my 
baggage all the way through. They wired the Los Angeles chapter 
for someone to help me in making a transfer of trains. 

At San Diego, while waiting for the train, I received funds 
from the Mankato [chapter] Red Cross. When I arrived in Man- 
kato ... I received additional funds from the Garden City Red 
Cross chapter. 

Chapter II 



lances came clanging down Manila's Pier i and halted alongside the 
American Red Cross hospital ship Mactctn moored there. 

They were followed by others, and for three hours an unending 
line of stretchers bearing seriously wounded American and Filipino 
soldiers streamed up the Mactan's gangplank. Men with bandaged 
heads, with legs in casts, with arms in slings, and with hidden shrap- 
nel wounds were borne aloft by Filipino doctors, nurses, and crew. 
Their faces pallid and eyes expressionless, they had no idea where 
they were being taken. They did not seem to care, except that the 
large red crosses on the ship's sides were a reassuring sign that they 
were in friendly hands. 

There were 224 officers and enlisted men in the group of wounded 
young boys of the new Philippine Army, youthful American air- 
men, grizzled veterans of the Philippine Scouts (an arm of the 
United States Army), and gray-haired American soldiers with many 
years' service in the Far East. All had been wounded fighting the 
Japanese invaders during the bloody weeks preceding the historic 
stand on Bataan. 

These casualties had been left behind in the Sternberg General 
Hospital when General Douglas MacArthur withdrew his forces to 
Bataan. Anxious, however, to save them from the rapidly advancing 
Japanese armies, he had requested the American Red Cross to trans- 
port them to Darwin, Australia, in a ship chartered, controlled, 
staffed, and fully equipped by the Red Cross. The only military 
personnel aboard, apart from the patients, would be an Army sur- 
geon, Colonel Percy J. Carroll, of St. Louis, Missouri, and an Army 
nurse, Lieutenant Floramund Ann Fellmeth, of Chicago. 

Aboard the Mactan, berthed at Manila's only pier to survive con- 
stant Japanese air attacks, Irving Williams, of Patchogue, Long 
Island, lanky Red Cross field director, observed the three-hour pro- 
cession of wounded up the gangplank. From now on until the ship 
reached Australia an estimated ten-day passage if things went well- 
responsibility for them was in his hands. 


As the patients were being transferred from ambulance to ship, 
Williams co-ordinated and integrated the many- different operations 
to one end the Mactan's departure before midnight. 

He was supervising deck hands at the winches when a tall man 
dressed as a priest handed him a letter introducing the Reverend 
Thomas A. Shanahan, of Waterbury, Connnecticut, an English pro- 
fessor at Ateneo de Manila, the Jesuit university, who was to be the 
Mactan's chaplain. 

"What may I do to help, Mr. Williams?" asked Father Shanahan. 

Williams, harassed and worried, who well could have used a 
strong hand at that moment, said, "Father, please find a cabin and 

make yourself comfortable. I'm busy now. We'll discuss your work 

The priest glanced around. "I understand perfectly," he said with 
a smile, as he walked off toward the cabins. 

A half -hour or so later, Williams again saw the priest. It was in 
the hold of the ship. Dressed in dungarees, his sleeves rolled up, 
Father Shanahan was directing a fatigue party of crew members 
cleaning a shower room and latrines. 

Only forty-eight hours had elapsed since the Mactan had been 
brought from Corregidor where she was unloading military stores 
for the United States Army. A 2,ooo-ton, decrepit old Philippine 
inter-island steamer, she was the only ship available at the time when 
everything in Manila Bay had been sunk or scuttled or had scam- 
pered off to sea. 

Working under threat of Manila's imminent occupation by Jap- 
anese troops, Williams and his Red Cross associates, and the crews 
under them, performed a miracle of speed in outfitting the Mactan 
as a hospital ship. Simultaneously, steps were taken to fulfill the obli- 
gations of international law governing hospital ships: The Mactan 
was painted white with a red band around the vessel and large red 
crosses on her sides and top decks; a charter agreement was made 
between the American Red Cross and the ship's owners; the ship 
was commissioned in the name of the President of the United States; 
in accordance with cabled instructions from Chairman Norman H. 
Davis in the name of the American Red Cross, the Japanese Govern- 
ment was apprized of the ship's description and course; all contra- 
band was dumped overboard; and the Swiss Consul, after a diligent 
inspection as the representative of United States interests, gave his 
official blessings. 

On board, Williams was saying good-by to a group of associates 
when interrupted by the strident voice of the dockmaster, an Army 
major, bellowing from the pier below: "Will you fellows get the 
hell out of here? YouVe had me worried all day. Now get moving." 

With the Manila office of the United States Coast and Geodetic 
Survey bombed out, the Mactan would leave the pier without de- 
tailed charts for the long passage to Australia. 

"Have you located detailed charts, Irving?" asked Charles Forster, 
manager of the Philippine Red Cross. 

"Not yet, but the Don Estebdn is supposed to bring us a set off 
the breakwater." 

Williams' face twitched nervously. His blue eyes betrayed anxiety. 
"Any word yet of Japanese clearance?" he asked. 

Forster, Thomas J. Wolff, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, 
and James W. Cullen, field supervisor, shook their heads. 

Williams gripped the handrail and sighed, "We'll sail without it. 
We must get under way." 

A few minutes later the Mactan felt the rhythm of its slow-turning 
engines as it picked its way through the watery graveyard of Manila 
Bay, its own lights a contrast to the spectral hulks still spewing 
smoke where Japanese bombs had wrecked them. 

Off the breakwater, the Mactan dropped anchor to await the Don 

As the hours passed, a little group joined Julian C. Tamayo, the 
Mactaris skipper, on the bridge for a last look at Manila's skyline. 
Besides Williams, there were Father Shanahan, Colonel Carroll, and 
Chief Nurse Ann Fellmeth. 

Having been declared an open city, Manila once again was ablaze. 
The incandescent lights, however, were dimmed by the curtains of 
bright flame hanging over the city. The Army was dynamiting gaso- 
line storage tanks at its base in Pandacen and its installations on 
Engineer Island to prevent their use by the enemy. The docks were 
burning, and over smoldering Cavite Navy Yard, devastated by 
heavy Japanese air attacks, intermittent flashes of fire reddened the 

As^if by design, promptly at midnight the last of the Pandacen 
gasoline tanks blew up with a terrific explosion, throwing up masses 
of flame which seemed to envelop the whole city. 

A new year was ushered in, but the little group on the Mactaris. 
bridge was in no mood for celebration. 

The charts brought by the Don Estebarfs master were not the 
ones Captain Tamayo had asked for. They were too general. 

"Do you think you can sail without detailed charts?" asked 

"I think so," replied the swarthy, pug-nosed little skipper witk 
characteristic confidence. 

Once again, the Mactan weighed anchor. The moon was high ia 
the sky as the ship approached Corregidor for a last-minute rendez- 
vous with a United States naval vessel. From the shadow of The 
Rock sped a corvette, a gray wraith floodlighted by the moon, to 
lead the Mactan through the maze of mine fields. The corvette led 
the lumbering Mactan a merry chase; highly maneuverable, the 
former made the various turns at sharp angles, while the latter would 
reach the apex of a triangle and extend beyond it before making- 
a turn. The corvette slowed down and a voice bellowed: "You 


damn fools! Do you want to blow yourselves to kingdom come? 
Follow instructions." 

MeanwhEe the zigzag course had unnerved the excitable Captain 
Tamayo who swore volubly in English and his native Tagalog. 

The corvette finally signaled farewell and good luck and sped 
back toward Corregidor. 

The Mactan was now on its own. Out there on the open sea, 
sharply etched against the track of the moon, it looked small, and 
terribly lonely. 

Irving Williams had arrived in Manila on October 9, 1941, with 
two associates, to organize American Red Cross field director service 
for the armed forces in the Philippines. The Philippine Red Cross, a 
chapter of the American Red Cross though working autonomously 
under a Philippine Commonwealth charter, had previously confined 
its activities to civilians. 

The three Red Cross men called on General MacArthur at his 
office, a large room in a rambling wooden building in Intramuros, 
Manila's ancient walled city. Military campaign trophies and gifts 
from the various Filipino tribes were everywhere. MacArthur was 
seated behind his desk smoking a heavy Filipino cigar as the Red 
Cross workers entered. As soon as the meeting got under way, he 
rose and paced the floor. In deliberate and colorful language, he 
described in great detail some of the facilities he hoped the American 
Red Cross would establish for the Philippine Army then being 

"The American Red Cross," concluded MacArthur, "is to the 
Army and Navy what pepper and salt are to food." 

The news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at first stunned 
the Filipino people. Ordinarily the din of honking horns in Manila's 
streets was very disturbing to a newcomer, but on that fateful morn- 
ing Williams was struck by the pall of silence that seemed to have 
fallen over the city. Cars were moving rapidly and apparently aim- 
lessly, but the horns were not honking. In the afternoon, however, 
when news of the bombing of Clark Field had reached Manila, the 
horns again let loose. From the rooms of the Red Cross building 
the noise was reminiscent of Times Square on New Year's Eve- 
shouts, honking horns, trolley bells clanging, and everybody giving 
vent to outraged feelings. 

A Red Cross call for volunteers had brought immediate response. 

From noon until late afternoon the Red Cross building was crowded 

with persons offering their services, their automobiles, their homes, 

and their money. While the volunteers were being registered and 


classified, a telephone call came from Harold Graybeal, assistant field 
director at Fort Stotsenburg, about sixty miles from Manila, an- 
nouncing that adjoining Clark Field had been bombed. 

The emergency machinery of the Philippine Red Cross functioned 
with surprising efficiency. Even though few had expected war to 
come so soon, the Philippine Red Cross had made extensive prepara- 
tions for almost any eventuality. Large supplies of food, clothing, 
surgical dressings, and other medical supplies were stored in bodegas, 
or warehouses, located at strategic points in the city and throughout 
the provinces. Contracts had been made with transportation com- 
panies so that in a flash buses, automobiles, ambulances, and horses 
could be made available. A large staff of doctors and nurses had 
been enrolled as volunteers for the ten emergency hospitals operated 
by the Philippine Red Cross in sections vulnerable to attack from 
the air, particularly along the waterfront. When the bombings began 
they worked day and night giving first aid to persons wounded by 
bomb fragments, flying stones, and other missiles. 

The Red Cross building, just beyond the crowded business section, 
was regarded by many in the streets as a safe haven when the air-raid 
alarm sounded. The building was of frame construction covered 
with stucco which gave it an undeserved appearance of solidity. The 
fact that it was a Red Cross building added to the people's sense of 

A plan for the evacuation of nonessential men, women, and chil- 
dren from Manila had been developed by the American Red Cross 
and the Philippine Red Cross in co-operation with the Philippine 
Government. Before General MacArthur gave the evacuation order, 
however, many Filipinos took to the road on their own initiative. 
On a highway north of Manila, Field Director Williams saw every 
type of conveyance, from dilapidated old buses to calezos drawn by 
tiny horses and bearing six to eight members of a family and their 
furniture. And from the opposite direction came another exodus. 
Here one bus was so overcrowded that it could scarcely move, and 
was holding up a long train of cars, calezos, and corromatas, a 
twelve-passenger coach drawn by two tiny horses. And after the 
Cavite Navy Yard was bombed, hundreds of, citizens fled from the 
town. Most of them traveled on foot, carrying on their backs or in 
arms whatever household articles they could take with them. Two 
men carried a hundred-pound sack of rice between them, and a 
wizened old Filipino bore his most prized possession, a parrot in a 
cage. Fearing that his people might be stranded on the road without 
adequate food or shelter, the mayor of Cavite appealed for assistance 
to Williams who was then in Cavite on an urgent official mission. 


After much trouble, Williams reached Red Cross headquarters in 
Manila by telephone and relayed the mayor's plea. Shortly after two 
Red Cross trucks loaded with rice, dried fish, and kitchen utensils 
met the refugees, and kitchens were opened along the road. 

When the prearranged evacuation plan was finally carried out at 
General MacArthur's orders, Field Supervisor James W. Cullen was 
put in charge. To gather these frightened refugees from their homes, 
transport them to railroad and bus stations, have them properly 
tagged, prevent their carrying anything other than articles essential 
to minimum health and comfort, feed them, and provide medical and 
nursing care en route; and organize a staff to receive them at evacu- 
ation centers in the provinces twenty to sixty miles from Manila 
and distribute them to designated homes all this was a task of tre- 
mendous proportions. And Cullen and his staff of Filipino assistants 
thus removed almost 80,000 men, women, and children from Manila. 

However, the Japanese closed in on Manila from the provinces 
instead of making a frontal attack upon the city, thereby imperiling 
the evacuation centers. To avert an uncontrolled exodus back to the 
city at the approach of the Japanese forces, causing confusion and 
road congestion, an organized return to Manila was ordered for all 
evacuees. Unfortunately the Japanese armies were moving too fast 
to complete the re-evacuation, and the subsequent occupation of 
Manila by the Japanese nullified the value of this tremendous effort. 

One of the Red Cross heroines was Mrs. Frances Hobbs, of 
Manila, assistant field director at Fort William McKinley. Her office 
was in the chaplain's house, a one-story building with a wide porch 
skirting two sides. One day a crowd of frantic women and crying 
children, left behind by Philippine Scouts who were suddenly 
alerted and moved out of the fort at night, jammed her office and 
porch. Without food or money,, they had come to the Red Cross 
for financial assistance. The women were so nervous and distracted 
that Frances Hobbs had difficulty calming them even with the 
promise that the Red Cross would meet their needs. 

As women milled about and children whimpered, Mrs. Hobbs, 
with the aid of a Filipina school girl, made individual loans and re- 
corded them. This work was at its peak when suddenly the air-raid 
alarm sounded: Japanese planes were bombing Nichols Field and the 
outskirts of Fort William McKinley. Instantly the women became 
hysterical and the children cried louder than ever. The women 
started jostling one another in a mad stampede increasing the danger 
that some of them, especially the children, might be trampled to 


With surprising calm, Frances Hobbs climbed on a desk and 
called upon the women to follow her in the Lord's Prayer. The 
women immediately dropped to their knees and recited the Lord's 
Prayer after her, repeating it over and over again during the thirty 
minutes that the air raid lasted. 

From Assistant Field Director Harold Graybeal at Fort Stotsen- 
burg came frequent pleas by telephone for more and more surgical 
dressings. A six months' supply was consumed in the first two days 
after Clark Field's bombardment. The Army then rushed two truck- 
loads which were gone in a matter of hours. Graybeal's pleas were 
heartbreaking. The hospital was out of surgical dressings; the 
wounded from Clark Field were still pouring in; would not Red 
Cross headquarters please do something about it right away? Red 
Cross volunteers, rolling furiously, had stored up a large pile of 
surgical dressings. Irving Williams loaded them into a station wagon, 
and after a wild ride in the blackout delivered them at the hospital. 
The sights in the wards chilled him. 

On the morning of December 24, some twenty Red Cross volun- 
teer women were in the official residence of Francis B. Sayre, High 
Commissioner to the Philippines, packing Christmas gifts for soldiers 
and sailors in hospitals in and around Manila. Mrs. Sayre was in 
charge of the group. 

Suddenly, at eleven o'clock, Mrs. Sayre looked up from her task 
at the tables to see her husband standing in the patio doorway beck- 
oning to her. She slipped quietly out of the room and stood in the 

"I have an urgent message from General MacArthur>" said Mr. 
Sayre in a low voice. "The city may fall, and we must be ready to 
leave for Corregidor at one-thirty!" 

Mrs. Sayre was stunned. "But we must finish these bags. They're 
the only Christmas our boys will have." 

"Pack as quickly as you can," he said and left hurriedly. 

Mrs. Sayre went back to the tables. The women worked quickly, 
and in silence, to complete their task before the daily noon Japanese 
air raid over Manila. 

The treasure bags, as they were called, made hundreds of Ameri- 
can and Filipino soldiers and sailors happier in their hospital wards 
that dark Christmas Day. Irving Williams helped Gray Ladies make 
the distribution in the Sternberg General Hospital. The work was 
under the direction of Miss Catherine L. Nau, of Pittsburgh assistant 
field director at the hospital, who later was to distinguish herself for 
her work among the troops on Bataan and Corregidor, before the 
Japanese interned her. 


Of the gift distribution at Sternberg General Hospital, Irving 
Williams said, "I shall never forget the boys' beaming faces and de- 
lighted eyes as we went from ward to ward. The simple comfort 
articles meant so much to these boys, who had lost all of their pos- 
sessions on the field of battle." 

Not until three days later December 28 did Williams know that 
these same boys would be entrusted to his care on one of the most 
hazardous missions of the war. Major General Basilio Valdes, then 
commanding general of the Filipino Army, came straight from Mac- 
Arthur's headquarters on Corregidor with the urgent request that 
the American Red Cross undertake to transport all serious casualties 
from the Sternberg General Hospital to Australia. President Manuel 
Quezon of the Philippine Commonwealth helped the Red Cross 
locate the Mactan. 

Failure of the Japanese Government to grant "safe passage" cast a 
pall of suspense over the Mactctris staff, patients, and crew. On Field 
Director Williams this suspense fell heaviest. Day after day he had 
to face one problem after another growing out of this uncertainty. 
The ship was completely at the mercy of the Japanese, who knew 
her course and description. At night she stood out like an electric, 
light in a coal mine; in daytime she was conspicuous as a toy sail- 
boat in a pond. 

What went on aboard the overloaded Mactan as she labored 
against sea and wind to reach her Australian haven? What of the 
wounded American and Filipino heroes? What of the brave Filipino 
doctors, nurses, and crew who had left families behind? Mr. Wil- 
liams, the Maotan's central figure, gives us some of the highlights 
of the voyage in the following personal narrative: 

January first, 1942, dawned warm and clear. As the sun lifted 
the veil of night, some of the tenseness of those final hours of 
the departure from Manila seemed to be drawn off with it. Our 
spirits rose and we briskly set about the business of organizing the 
routine of the ship. Colonel Carroll assigned the Filipino doctors 
to various sections of the ship and reviewed with them the medical 
histories which he had brought with him from Sternberg Hospital. 
Ann Fellmeth organized the nurses in locations and shifts, and 
then went below to unpack and arrange the medical supplies. I 
was on the bridge, checking with Captain Tamayo and Chief 
Mate Huerto the course we were to take in accordance with our 
advice to the Japanese Government. 

The next morning, Captain Tamayo reported that we were 

2 4 

entering the Sulu Sea and by nightfall we should be approaching 
Pearl Reef. He showed me Pearl Reef on the map and said, "Mees- 
ter Weelyems, I am worried. These chart ees too beeg. Pearl Reef 
ees very bad." 

To my suggestion that he speed up the ship to pass the reef by 
daylight, the captain shook his head. "The Mactan, she now 
does nine knots and I am worry about the engines? They should 
have been overhaul before we leave Maneela." 

This was a new angle. The ship owners had assured us that the 
ship was mechanically sound, and here, less than two days out, the 
captain was worried about the engines. 

That afternoon a strong wind came out of the northeast, and 
the captain informed me we were having difficulty keeping on our 
course, and the speed of the ship was slackened to seven knots. At 
that rate we would reach the vicinity of Pearl Reef at midnight. 

"Meester Weelyems, you are in charge of sheep. There is much 
danger at Pearl Reef. What shall I do?" 

Now, as never before, I felt the full weight of my responsibility. 
I had only a novice's knowledge of navigation, yet I was being 
called upon for a decision that involved the lives of 318 persons 
[including the crew], many of them too ill to help themselves in 
an emergency. We knew that the Japanese were in Davao on the 
island of Mindanao and they were also in northeastern Borneo. 
Between the two was a string of small islands. We should have to 
pass through the Japanese lines of communication between Minda- 
nao and Borneo. If we could get past Pearl Reef we could sail 
through the islands at night with a much better chance to get 
through than by day. If we got past Pearl Reef! 

Captain Tarnayo and I went back to the charts and after much 
manipulation of dividers and parallel rules, we decided that the 
risk of Pearl Reef was greater than the chance of being seen by 
the Japanese. 

To avoid disturbing the patients, we concluded to sail until an 
hour after sundown, and then gradually swing around and back- 
track on our southward course until dawn, at very slow speed. 

The boys were hard to fool, however. The wind was blowing 
briskly and the sea had become rough. Normally we should have 
been putting on more speed. As the engines were throttled, many 
of the patients became alarmed. Was there something wrong? Had 
we sighted something suspicious? Were we off our course? Father 
Shanahan and I went among the beds placating the men, assuring 
them that all was well we were merely ahead of schedule. 

During the night while heading northward the wind died down 

and the moon came up brightly, swathing the Mactan in soft silver. 
We slipped along, almost silently through the still water for two 
hours, then the clouds gathered again and a light rain began to 
fall. Those two hours of tell-tale moonlight gave us away to some 
of the airmen trained in celestial navigation. 

In the morning, after we had passed Pearl Reef and the Jap- 
anese-held islands, and were in the Celebes Sea, one of the boys, 
a navigator on a 6-17 before the Japs got his plane-and him at 
Clark Field, spoke up. "I thought you said we were going to 
Darwin? Where were we heading last night?" 

I evaded with, "We were following the course we had plotted." 

Meanwhile, the men in nearby beds had pricked up their ears. 
Any deviation from normal aboard a ship is vital news. Questions 
flew from every direction, and I parried. In one respect, this in- 
terest was heartening as it demonstrated the the boys were begin- 
ning to stir out of their lethargy. 

The B-ry navigator spoke up again. "On our course, huh? Well, 
it's damned funny that the moon was on the wrong side." 

Then I confessed what we had done, and why. The reaction 
was gratifying. One of the men who had been more jittery than 
the rest, remarked, "Thank God, somebody around here is using 
his head." 

That January third is memorable not only for the aftermath of 
tension caused by the Pearl Reef incident but for the drama fol- 
lowing news of the capitulation of Manila. Perhaps "capitulate" is 
the wrong word, as Manila had been without defense since Gen- 
eral MacArthur had declared it an open city. The Japanese merely 
marched in and occupied it. 

It was shortly after supper that a musical broadcast from San 
Francisco coming in over the Mactan's radio was interrupted with, 
"Repeating the announcement made over this station earlier to- 
daythe city of Manila was occupied by Japanese troops at ten 
o'clock this morning. The Japanese were at the gates of the city 
yesterday, but delayed entry until they could organize a tri- 
umphal march into the ancient capital of the Philippines." 

The broadcast was heard only by a few in the vicinity of the 
radio room. I was just coming down the ladder from the bridge 
when the radio man rushed up the narrow deck aisle between the 
rows of cots shouting hysterically, "They have taken Manila! 
They have taken Manila!" 

Tears were streaming down his face as he almost knocked me 
over in his haste to get up on the bridge. From all parts of the 
ship, Filipino crew members were converging on the bridge. There 


was an excited babble of voices as several of the Filipina nurses, 
came up from the lower deck. 

One of them, Mrs. Domingo, had left four children with her 
mother when she volunteered for the Mactan mission. "My cheel- 
dren, my babies! Why did I leave them? " she wailed. 

As usual, Father Shanahan, sad but calm, saved the day. His 
clear mellow voice carried a note of sternness. He knew his Fili- 
pinos. Did they no longer have faith in the Saviour? Were they 
to allow this misfortune to swerve them from their avowed objec- 
tive of forty years the independence of their homeland? They 
must, at this very moment, dedicate themselves before Christ, to 
do their utmost to restore their country to their people. . . . 

On a cot just off the foot of the ladder to the bridge an Ameri- 
can soldier, his right side padded in bandages where once was 

an arm, wept softly and then suddenly shrieked, "The ; the 

little yellow ! We'll beat them if it is the last thing we do," 

I went up to the bridge and found Captain Tamayo standing 
motionless, tight-lipped, staring out into the emptiness of the sea. 
Usually highly emotional, now he was grim, silent. I touched his 
sleeve and he turned, forcing a smile. He had left his wife and five 
children behind in Manila. 

I murmured, "Captain Tamayo, this is just the beginning. Amer- 
ica will keep faith with the Philippines/' 

A sudden gust of wind swept across the bridge and the ship- 
lurched sharply. The captain cast off his gloom and turned sharply 
to look at the barometer. 

"She is dropping, Meester Weelyems. I think we have a storm."" 
Then he sang out above the wind, "Huerto, Huerto!" 

The first mate came on the run, and the captain addressed him 
sharply in his native Tagalog. The mate sounded the Chip's bell 
and two deck hands appeared. More instructions in Tagalog and 
the deck hands started off on the run. 

I came down from the bridge and watched the crew as they 
lowered the canvas drops to protect the decks from the rain 
which had begun to beat in on the patients. Some of the beds were 
already quite wet and the nurses were busy changing the linens. 

I returned to my cabin and found Father Shanahan sitting on 
my cot thoughtfully smoking his pipe. Neither of us spoke for a 
few minutes. Breaking the silence in a low voice, I said, "Thanks, 
Father, for the way you handled those Filipinos tonight." 

Father Shanahan remained silent, puffing at his pipe with a vigor 
that showed his mind was working at top speed. He laid the pipe 
on the table, and, staring across the room, he mused, "The Fili- 


pinos are a devout, decent, sturdy little people. We can't let them 
down. Why, I remember . . ." 

For a half-hour he reminisced on the Filipinos, their home life, 
their loves, their politics, their war observations made after many 
years' residence in the Philippines as a Jesuit missionary and 
teacher. And for another hour we shared experiences of those 
terrible weeks in Manila bfore the Mactan's departure. 

Suddenly we were interrupted by a pile of cigar boxes crashing 
to the cabin floor. The ship had risen high on a wave and a cross 
wind caused her to heel sharply to the starboard. So engrossed 
were we in our conversation that we had failed to notice the 
increasing intensity of the storm. 

We both went out on deck and viewed a terrifying scene. The 
canvas drops had provided poor protection against the beating 
rain, and the doctors, nurses and crew were busy drawing the 
cots back from the rail. The sudden lurch of the ship had shifted 
cots all over the deck like an upset jig-saw puzzle. The medical 
staff "were working frantically to restore order out of chaos the 
while they were trying to maintain their footing on the swaying 
and bouncing decks. A sudden lunge forward, and there was a 
wild melee as a huge wave broke over the decks. The drenched 
patients were grumbling and swearing, and a few had hobbled 
from their cots into the shelter' of the companionway leading to 
the saloon. As I threaded my way forward to assist them, another 
mountainous wave broke over the side of the ship and drenched 
me to the skin. Blinded and gasping from the brine I finally made 
my way to the top of the companionway where a sorry-looking 
group of patients stood huddled together. I helped them below one 
by one and rushed to find blankets for them. 

The saloon, converted into the operating room of the ship's 
hospital, was a scene of utter disorder. Bottles and instruments 
which had been so orderly arranged on small tables by Nurse 
Ann Fellmeth were strewn about on the floor. Foul-smelling 
liquids, broken bottles and piles of dressings littered the room. 
I directed one of the attendants to straighten up the place, but in 
view of the ship's violent tossing this was futile. 

While in Colonel Carroll's cabin the Colonel was ill I was 
interrupted by Dr. Francisco Roman, one of the Filipino doctors, 
who excitedly reported that one of the Filipino soldiers with bad 
shrapnel wounds in arm and shoulder was having a hemorrhage. 

With an alacrity that was amazing in view of his own indisposi- 
tion, Colonel Carroll bounced out of his cot, got into his raincoat 


and followed Dr. Roman to the wounded soldier's bed. The wind, 
howling the length of the ship, had the Colonel's raincoat flapping 
like a sail torn from its halyards. The deck lights being too dim 
for a satisfactory examination, the Colonel stuffed the wounds 
with gauze and ordered the boy taken to the saloon-operating 
room. There a further examination showed the need for imme- 
diate amputation of the arm. 

While awaiting Nurse Ann Fellmeth, Colonel Carroll tried to 
assemble the instruments strewn about the floor. Ann soon ap- 
peared with two others of the nursing staff, Miss Basilia Hernando, 
senior Filipina nurse, and Miriam Fowles, Canadian-born wife of 
an English diplomat evacuated with other British women from 
Hong Kong. They straightened up the room and prepared the 
patient for the operation. 

Cases of canned goods were stacked at the foot of the operating 
table to keep it from shifting in the storm: 

Seldom was surgery performed under such difficult conditions. 
With the ship pitching and rolling, Colonel CarrolFs dexterous 
hands worked with lightning speed. Frequently the ship's lurching 
made it difficult for surgeon and nurses to keep their footing. The 
weird howling of the wind and the sound of waves crashing on 
the decks often drowned out the Colonel's orders. The room was 
hot, stifling, and heavy with the odor of ether. One of the nurses 
kept daubing away the perspiration as it beaded on the Colonel's 

I watched the operation from a corner of the room near the 
bottom of the companionway. A group of patients stood huddled 
near by. We all were transfixed by the drama of the operating 

Action at the operating table was suddenly paced up. From 
behind his operating mask, Colonel Carroll snapped orders, unin- 
telligible to us because of the noise from wind and seas. 

The saloon lights seemed to be growing dimmer, and Ann beck- 
oned to me for a flashlight. As I handed it to her I observed 
Colonel Carroll leaning over the patient as though listening in- 
tently. While others around the table prevented me from getting 
a full view, I sensed that something suddenly had gone wrong. 

Colonel Carroll seemed to sag. Ann went to him quickly. Un- 
tying his mask, she spoke sharply as if to brace him. But the 
Colonel made no reply. He wabbled out of the room, passing me 
without as much as a nod. The others were also moving from the 
table revealing the inert form of the soldier. 

2 9 

Her hands spread in a gesture of despair, Ann Fellmeth came 
toward me and murmured, "Thrombosis." 

It all happened so fast, even though the operation was proceed- 
ing well, that there was no time to send for Father Shanahan to 
give the soldier the last rites of his church. 

The next day, as the Mactan was passing from the Celebes Sea Into 
the Strait of Makassar, Williams was called into the captain's cabin 
and told that the ship was dangerously low on oil and water. The 
news shocked the Red Cross man, who had been given the impres- 
sion in Manila that there was enough fuel and water to last ten days. 

"We have very bad weathers, Meester Weelyems," explained the 
captain. "The engineer he remarks we need more oil. Also the 
Mactan she never carry so many passengers so we use more water." 

Williams wiped the perspiration from his face. Any deviation 
from the announced course might give the Japanese an excuse to 
attack and destroy the unarmed ship. Yet to stop somewhere off 
the course for oil and water appeared unavoidable. But where? It 
was finally decided to put in at Makassar at the southwestern tip 
of Celebes Island, Netherlands East Indies. The next day, as the sun 
was setting, the Mactan was piloted into Makassar, a small piece of 
Holland isolated in the South Seas. 

There followed five days of bewilderment and confusion as Wil- 
liams endeavored to obtain definite information from Darwin and 
the American Legation at Canberra, Australia's capital, regarding the 
Mactan's final destination. 

The first words to come over the radio-telephone from the Ameri- 
can Legation were: "Are you all right? There's a report that you'd 
been bombed." 

This was Williams' first intimation of newspaper reports in Aus- 
tralia and the United States that the Mactan had been attacked. He 
worried about the reports: by inciting the Japanese they might put 
the hospital ship in further jeopardy. 

While awaiting 'final word from Nelson Johnson, United States 
Minister to Australia, the Mactan took on f uel^ water, and provisions. 
Patients, staff, and crew enjoyed the generous hospitality of the 
Dutch colony. But there were many patients aboard whose wounds 
required a type of hospitalization lacking on the Mactan. Two men 
had died, and a third had been saved by blood plasma. Colonel 
Carroll's concern for the others increased momentarily. 

The next day January 9 Williams received the following in- 
structions from Minister Johnson over the radio-telephone: "Pro- 
ceed to Darwin. Additional orders will await you there." 

From then on, the Mactaris passage, while beset, as before, by- 
storms, enervating heat, and continued suspense regarding Japanese 
intentions, took on the aura of a triumphal inarch. Darwin in those 
dark days of the Japanese blitzkrieg was a haven for United Nations 
vessels. As the Mactan, under escort of an Australian gunboat, sailed 
into the harbor scores of them gave her a deafening welcome. With 
Darwin under constant Japanese air attack, the Mactm was advised 
to continue to Sydney. All day long launches and lighters brought 
supplies given by the Australian Red Cross. Three of its officials, 
Mrs. A. W. Abbott, president of the Northern Territory Division, 
L. R. McKenzie, deputy assistant commissioner, and Mrs. Peters of 
the Darwin chapter brought towels, chocolate, cookies, and comfort 
articles; and they introduced the boys to Australian "cordials/ 7 con- 
centrated fruit syrups which made a delicious drink when mixed 
with iced water. 

On the way from Darwin to Townsville, the next leg of the 
journey, fire broke out aboard the Mactan. 

One of the Filipina nurses [recollected Williams] passing by 
the gangway leading to the engine room discovered smoke coming 
from below- In a moment there was a dull explosion and smoke 
and flames shot from the engine room. The ship's bell sounded the 
alarm and the crew raced to their fire stations. Colonel Carroll, 
first on the scene, pulled a fire extinguisher from its rack and 
dashed into the smoke-filled gangway. 

He soon backed out gasping, but drawing a handkerchief over 
his face returned to the engine room followed by one of the Fili- 
pino patients also carrying an extinguisher. 

The crew*s fire-fighting team joined them and worked furiously 
to get the fire under control. I dashed up to the bridge to tell 
the wheelman to head toward shore, but Captain Tamayo had 
already given him this instruction. I then joined Father Shanahan 
and Ann Fellmeth directing patients into their lifebelts. While 
there was much excitement a panic was avoided. The fire lasted 
only a half -hour, but might easily have developed into a catas- 
trophe but for the prompt and heroic work of Colonel Carroll 
and Jose H. Senorosa, the patient. The following entry appears 
in my log for January 15: "7 : 3 P.M. All clear sounded. Patients 
took whole situation without undue alarm and did much joking 
about it. While fire was on, one of the boys started playing his 
mouth organ and several others in vicinity began to sing. So 
endeth a brief experience with fire at sea." 

3 1 

When we dropped anchor off Townsville, Mrs. W. J. Heatley 
of the local Red Cross chapter visited the ship. 

From the patients, she brought back a list a yard long of com- 
fort articles needed* by them which the Australian Red Cross 
Society would supply. To my profuse thanks, she replied, "This 
is the least we can offer in the face of the contribution the United 
States is making to our security." 

We arrived at the mouth of the Brisbane River at three o'clock 
in the afternoon of January 24. The Brisbane River winds its 
way inland from the Pacific for a distance of eight miles to the 
city proper. At the mouth of the river is a broad, flat delta but 
farther upstream the land rises on either side and the slopes are 
dotted with the homes of Brisbane suburban dwellers. Having 
received advance news of our arrival, the good folk of Brisbane 
were out to give us a royal welcome. As we proceeded slowly 
toward the city we were cheered from the hillsides. Folks were 
gathered on their porches waving small United States flags, bed- 
sheets, tablecloths and handkerchiefs. It was a stirring reception 
and one of the American patients, his eyes wet with tears, re- 
marked, "Gee, it's just as if we were coming home!" 

We were greeted at the pier by the American consul, Joseph 
P. Ragland, Colonel A. L. P. Johnson, commander of the Ameri- 
can base at Brisbane, Major George Dietz, the Quartermaster, and 
Lieutenant Robert H. Odell, assistant military attache of the 
United States Legation at Canberra. 

From Colonel Johnson I learned that the first United States 
troops had arrived at Brisbane. 

We departed from Brisbane on the morning of January 25. 
The boys were consuming gallons of milk and ice cream and 
crate after crate of oranges and bananas which Colonel Johnson 
had put aboard. Lieutenant Odell, who was accompanying us to 
Sydney, went from deck to deck teaching the boys the famous 
Aussie marching song, "Waltzing Matilda," which we planned 
to sing coming up the harbor to Sydney. 

It was Sunday and that evening Father Shanahan conducted his 
final service. After delivering a fervent prayer of thanks for our 
safety, he concluded with the Lord's Prayer in which we all 
joined. The closing hymn was being sung when from the port 
promenade deck resounded the cry, "Man overboard!" 

We rushed to that side of the ship and found the tell-tale empty 
cot of the missing Filipino soldier. The bridge rang "full speed 
astern," to the engine crew. The ship trembled and the engines 


went into reverse. Spotlights were focussed on the seas then run- 
ning rough. Lookouts were posted along the rails in all parts of 
the ship as for several hours we cruised about in the turbulent 
waters without finding a trace of the missing soldier. 

Father Shanahan was terribly disturbed by the incident, think- 
ing perhaps that something he had said in his sermon might have 
caused the soldier to take his life. We finally persuaded him that 
this could not have been the case as the boy understood no English. 

The incident depressed the entire ship and the following day, 
January 26, their spirits were further lowered by cloudy skies and 
violent seas. The roughest part of the whole voyage occurred on 
this final stretch. Captain Tamayo paced the bridge, hour after 
hour, wringing his hands and moaning, "My sheep; my God, my 
sheep!" No rain fell but the wind was so strong that it threatened 
to tear the ship apart. The Mactan rose on its stern and slapped 
down on the angry waves with a crash that sent terror through 
our hearts. 

Lieutenant Odell joined us in calming the patients who, for the 
first time, began to show signs of panic. With Sydney, the final 
destination, within reach the possibility of a disaster now was 
more than they could take. Even Captain Hervey, the pilot, who 
had sailed these waters for many years, began to show signs of 
strain by the gruff manner in which he called his instructions to 
the wheelman. 

Throughout the night and into the next day, the Mactan 
ploughed its way through the heavy seas, straining and groaning as 
it took the battering of the waves. Every member of the crew was 
on the alert. A group of men was selected to check each bed to 
be sure that life preservers were ready for instant use. 

But our luck held out, and on the morning of January 27, the 
sun broke through the clouds and the seas gradually calmed. At 
noon we were steaming through "The Heads," the cliffs that 
rear so boldly on either side of the narrow entrance to beautiful 
Sydney Harbor. 

The boys were up in their cots chattering almost hysterically 
as they viewed the colorful landscape that graces the seaward 
approach to Australia's greatest metropolis. The* harbor was fall 
of shipping, and the Mactan, like a cocky bantam, proudly passed 
her larger sister ships while they saluted her with a terrific din of 
bells and whistles. 

From the Mactan's rear deck the strains of "Waltzing Matilda" 
sounded as one of the boys struck up the tune with his mouth 


organ. Immediately from all decks voices rose as one, singing 
the stirring ballad in salute to the proud little nation that was to 
be our home for so many months. 

With a tug almost as big as the Mactan herself nosing us in, we 
slid into the quay at Wooloomooloo, the main dockside of Sydney. 
On the quay was a string of ambulances and motor cars winding 
out beyond the warehouses of the dockfront. Australian soldiers 
in their cocky hats with brim turned up stood in formation, 
stretchers replacing guns. Women in the uniform of the Aus- 
tralian Red Cross Motor Corps stood at attention at their ambu- 
lances and cars. A group of important looking civilians and army 
officers looked up. And from the Mactan came the rousing chorus 
of "Waltzing Matilda." 

The first to come aboard was Ely E. Palmer, United States 
Consul General for Australia, and his first assistant, William Flake, 
American consul for Sydney. They were followed by officers of 
the Australian and United States Armies, Australian Government 
and officials of the Australian Red Cross Society. 

The Australian stretcher bearers came aboard smartly and pro- 
ceeded at once to transfer our bed patients to the ambulances. 
Ambulatory patients were led to waiting automobiles and ambu- 
lances. In one hour and a half all patients had departed from the 
ship, and were on their way to the Australian Army General 
Hospital No. 13. 

Thus ended the long voyage of the first United States hospital 
ship in World War II. It is impossible in this brief account to detail 
all the dangers and tensions that lurked around the Mactan every 
inch and every minute of the way; or to give adequate recognition 
to the valuable services on board of Father Shanahan, Colonel Car- 
roll, and Chief Nurse Ann Fellmeth; or to record fully the devotion 
and courage of the Filipino doctors and nurses who gave up their 
homes, families, and livelihood for the duration to serve on this 
hospital ship as Red Cross personnel. 

To Irving Williams, the Mactan was one of those emergency as- 
signments faced constantly by Red Cross field directors in the line 
of duty. He overlooked no detail to strengthen the faith of the 
wounded soldiers in the ability of the Red Cross to transport them 
to safety, thereby helping to sustain their morale. For his part in tiie 
mission he sought no reward but the satisfaction of having brought 
his heroic charges safely to Australia. He was both surprised and 
gratified, therefore, to receive the following document from them: 


S. S. Mactan, Red Cross Hospital Ship 
At Sea, January 12, 1942 

National Headquarters 

American Red Cross 

Washington, D. C. 

We, the undersigned officers and enlisted men of the USAFFE, in 
grateful appreciation of the services rendered by the Philippine 
Chapter of the American Red Cross under the supervision of Mr. 
Irving Williams, Field Director, wish by this letter to express our 

The evacuation of the wounded soldiers from Manila by the Red 
Cross prior to its occupation by the enemy was instrumental in pre- 
serving the lives and health of the undersigned. 

The document bore the signatures, rank, and home addresses of 
210 of the Mactan's patientsall of them except those who had died 
or were too sick even to write their names. The addresses repre- 
sented almost every state in the Union and every province in the 


Chapter HI 





Director Irving Williams faced a staggering load. He felt a continu- 
ing concern for the Mactan's patients in the hospital. He helped 
place the ship's Filipino doctors and nurses in Australian hospitals, 
maintained members of the crew until employment could be found 
for them, and negotiated the disposal of the Mactan to the United 
States Army. 

He also assumed responsibility for American Red Cross traditional 
services to the small force of United States troops already on Aus- 
tralian soil. 

Among the distressed cargo from United Nations' ships hastily 

diverted to Australian ports at the outbreak of war, Williams found 

fifty-nine cases of Red Cross supplies consigned to him in Manila. 

They were the nucleus from which grew the mammoth stores of 

"the American Red Cross in the South and Southwest Pacific. In 

1944 there were twelve huge warehouses from which poured a flood 


of comfort articles, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and recreation equip- 
ment for American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. 

The appointment of dynamic Charles K. Gamble as American 
Red Cross Delegate on a voluntary basis hastened the organization 
of the Red Cross program. He was later made Red Cross Commis- 
sioner. A former Californian, Gamble was managing director of 
the Vacuum Oil Company in Australia with fifteen years' experience 
on the continent. 

Mr. Gamble's pioneer headquarters staff consisted of the follow- 
ing: Irving Williams, field supervisor for all services to the armed 
forces; John S. Gibson, of Washington, D.C., business manager; 
Albert A. Scott, of Arlington, Massachusetts, liaison with the 
Australian Red Cross and Comforts Fund; David K. Wood, of 
Houston, Texas, and Mahlon T. Milburn, of Washington, D.G, ac- 
countants; William C. Warren, of New York City, and William J. 
Wright, of Philadelphia, club directors; Field Directors Stanley L. 
Sommer, of Washington, D. C, Donald E. Morse, of Webster, New 
York; and Walter L. Howard, of Austin, Texas, assigned to head- 
quarters to assist Supervisor Williams. 

Shortly after General MacArthur's arrival in Australia from the 
Philippines, Gamble and Williams called on him in Melbourne to 
discuss the Red Cross program. They found him weary but none 
the worse for his harrowing experiences on Bataan. In a letter to 
Chairman Norman H. Davis, Gamble wrote, "There is no doubt that 
General MacArthur is a great friend of the American Red Cross 
and is convinced of the potential importance of the American Red 
Cross to the American armed forces here. 5 ' 

The flow of American Red Cross men and women staff workers 
to Australia^ New Zealand, and the islands of the South and South- 
west Pacific started soon after the interview. Loaded down with 
knapsacks, gas masks, tin helmets, bed rolls, and musette bags, groups 
of Red Cross workers were aboard many troop transports crossing 
the Pacific from the United States. Surrounded by the same veil of 
secrecy that concealed troop movements, they slipped away to their 
missions of mercy without benefit of gay farewells. On shipboard 
they entered into the informality of free time, leading group sing- 
ing, planning deck games, or organizing shows. 

Along with the troops, they endured the discomforts and stem 
discipline necessary on an ocean passage under constant threat of 
enemy air and submarine attacks. Now and then a shipwreck, float- 
ing slag oil, or an empty raft on the water reminded them of their 


Australia, in the weeks immediately following Pearl Harbor when 
Japan was on the loose in the Pacific, mobilized to defend its life. 

In a few lightning strokes, boldly conceived and ruthlessly exe- 
cuted, the Japanese amphibious war machine had conquered a vast 
sea-and-land empire in southeastern Asia and the southwestern 
Pacific. The Philippines, Netherlands East Indies, Malaya, Thailand, 
Butma, and Indo-China, with their immense wealth of raw materials 
and manpower, had fallen. Singapore, guarding Britain's gateway 
between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, heretofore thought im- 
pregnable, had crumbled. The Solomon Islands, New Britain, and a 
portion of New Guinea had been overrun. And now this land-sea-air 
juggernaut was knocking at the very gates of Australia. 

Australia and her neighbor, New Zealand, were extremely wor- 
ried. A considerable proportion of their land, air, and naval forces 
were committed elsewhere, particularly in Malaya and the Middle 
East. Meanwhile the Japanese almost daily were bombing Port 
Moresby, last remaining Australian outpost in New Guinea, and 
Darwin, on Australia's northern coast,, which lay directly in the path 
of the Japanese sweeping down the Netherlands Indies. 

In these circumstances, the arrival in Brisbane on December 22, 
1941, of two transports bearing 4,500 Yanks gave the depressed 
Australian people a tremendous lift. These troops were at sea head- 
ing for the Philippines when they were hastily rerouted to Australia 
by the news of the Pearl Harbor attack. They received a heroes' wel- 
come from the grateful Australians. Homes were thrown open to 
them and housewives struggled with hamburgers, apple pie, and 
coffee in a noble effort to make the Yanks feel at home. This gen- 
erosity was to last as long as American troops remained on Aus- 
tralian soil. 

The country's military outlook was improved considerably in 
March by three outstanding events: the arrival of General Mac- 
Arthur and staff from the Philippines; the coming of the first big 
convoy directly from the United States with many thousands of 
fresh troops and large quantities of war supplies; and the return of 
General Sir Thomas A. Blarney with a large force of veteran Ausr- 
tralian troops from the Middle East. Meanwhile United States Army 
Air Force units and naval reinforcements bolstered the defenses 
against the anticipated Japanese invasion. 

Upon assuming the supreme command of Allied forces in the 
Sottthwest Pacific, General MacArthur found the Australian people 
committed to the so-called "Brisbane defense plan." It represented 
their realistic approach to what they feared inevitable: a Japanese 
invasion of unfortified Queensland and adjoining Northern Ter- 


ritory. The area was evacuated and a defense line based at Brisbane 
was set up. 

General MacArthur, however, felt that the Allies should carry the 
fight to the Japanese aggressors in New Guinea instead of waiting 
for them to land in Australia. The Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4-8, 
1942, in which the United States Navy, assisted by some Australian 
warships, decisively broke up a formidable Japanese invasion fleet 
removed an immediate threat. There was no further need for the 
"Brisbane defense plan." 

Under the new plan, Australia and New Zealand were to be buik 
up as major bases for offensive operations in New Guinea and the 
Solomon Islands through lend-lease from America and increased 
production of local munition plants. Australia was also to become 
the invasion training ground for thousands of American and Aus- 
tralian troops. 

American contingents in southeastern Australia were moved up 
into Queensland, and there they were joined by many thousands of 
their comrades arriving over a period of many months from the 
United States. In Army camps all along the Queensland coast as 
far north as Cairns, Yanks learned the principles of jungle warfare. 
They also practiced debarking from 'transports, clambering down 
cargo-netted sides of ships into assault craft, and charging beacbes 
a training which was to enable them to capture one Japanese strong- 
hold after another along the New Guinea coast on the hard but 
triumphant march to the Philippines. 

This northern region, called Never-Never Land by Australians, 
was one of the most desolate in the world. Here American troops, 
side by side with their Australian Allies, endured not only the rigors 
of simulated battle, but also the most primitive living arrangements 
and adverse natural conditions imaginable. Mostly it was the heat 
that bothered them. From there a Red Cross field director wrote: 

The days go on, still oppressively hot. You and your clothing 
are saturated with Northern Territory cologne. You shower and 
before you can get your clothes on and your shoes laced, it's 
running off your face, muddying your glasses and soaking through 
the back of your shirt. You drink gallons of water and consume 
salt pills wholesale. But the funny thing is you get used to it. 

American Red Cross field directors and recreation specialists were 
in this wild territory to help the fighting men adapt themselves to 
the primitive life, and to act as a link between them and their families 
at home. Their presence was particularly welcome in view of the 


prevalence of dengue fever and malaria, both extremely depressing. 

Most field directors were mature men, some of them veterans of 
World War I. Selected for their judgment and experience in han- 
dling large groups of men, toughened to stand strenuous military life, 
strong of spirit, fearless and resourceful, they were fully prepared 
for the trials of the bush. They roughed it with the soldiers in 
virtually every phase of their training, sleeping and living out in the 

For them life in the bush was a tough game of ingenuity and 
perseverance against great odds, as indicated by Field Director C. 
W. Ashley, of Baltimore, Maryland: 

Dust clouds of it in red, white and gray, eating your face; 
mosquitoes, flies that bite like ants, centipedes, spiders, and many 
strange bugs; temperatures of 130 degrees and rains of three or 
four inches these are some of the things that a field director in 
Northern Territory has to contend with in his daily routine. 

After a drive of 300 miles over washboard roads in an army 
jeep you arrive at your headquarters to find a batch of mail to 
be answered. After clearing your desk it is midnight, and as a 
cool breeze blows through your tent you relax at the very thought 
of obtaining a good night's sleep on your army cot. Then about 
3 A.M. the alert sounds. That was every night; you could set your 
watch by Jap raids. You jump from under your mosquito net- 
ting, stub your toe in the dark as you search for your helmet, 
and then dive for the nearest slit-trench. When the "all clear" 
sounds you cannot sleep again, even after counting thousands of 

The American Red Cross recreation program in the bush, and 
throughout the Southwest Pacific, was divided into two parts: one 
for hospitalized men, the other for able-bodied troops. In the former 
case, the Red Cross provided a recreational specialist, usually a 
woman, on the staff of each hospital. The able-bodied program in 
camps was carried on by an assistant field director for recreation 
working under the Red Cross field director. The Red Cross fur- 
nished large quantities of recreational articles for able-bodied troops 
as distinguished from comfort articles such as razor blades, cigarettes, 
soap, comb, etc., furnished to hospitalized men. Recreational supplies 
ranged from pocket-sized books, playing cards, checkers, and crib- 
bage boards to portable phonographs, horseshoes, table-tennis sets, 
harmonicas, pocket knives, baseball equipment, second-hand pianos, 
and band instruments. 

Besides providing motion pictures, band concerts, and an active 
sports program, Red Cross field men took advantage of the primitive 
environment to create novel diversions for the men. They arranged 
and conducted visits to aboriginal villages where soldiers could wit- 
ness the corroboree, a festival held on moonlight nights, in which 
native men danced to music played by their womeii. 

They also promoted fishing and hunting trips in the bush. If 
lucky, a soldier might shoot wild geese, a i,5oo-pound water buffalo, 
flying fox, wild pig, kangaroo, wallaby, or even a crocodile. 

The men were encouraged to cultivate hobbies. One of the most 
popular was the catching and training of pets. Field Director 
William R. Fluharty said that many a cockatoo was trained to beg 
for food, shell and eat peanuts, shadow-box, take a shower bath, 
and even drink beer. Kangaroos and wallabies were equally good as 
pets. It was no uncommon sight, added Fluharty, to see a doughboy 
leading a kangaroo on a leash as he walked down to the mess tent. 
Mealtime at camp was heralded by a parade of birds and animals 
that seemed to have adjusted their feeding hours to those of United 
States soldiers. At breakfast wild cockatoos flew up from the sur- 
rounding gulleys; at lunch flocks of wild turkeys appeared; and at 
dinner a herd of wild goats made their call. 

In addition to being a training ground for the invasion of Japa- 
nese-held territory, Australia became a leave area for officers and 
men of the United States Army and Navy as well as for Army 
nurses. At first this created a serious social problem. Australia, equal 
in area to the United States but with a population of less than nine 
million people, had only limited facilities to satisfy the needs of 
servicemen on leave. Crowded conditions brought about by the war 
prevailed in all cities. Moreover, the country's strict blue laws kept 
all shops, restaurants, and amusement places closed on Sundays, a 
serious problem for those with week-end leaves. 

How grave the situation was from the Americans' standpoint was 
demonstrated by an incident in Brisbane, characterized by Aus- 
tralians as "a city the Yanks have taken over." Brisbane was a lusty 
overcrowded town redolent of the colorful days of the American 
frontier. Its narrow streets were jammed with fighting men husky 
Aussies in their wide, upturned sombreros and bronzed Yanks in 
khaki shorts and pith helmets or in jungle-green coveralls soldiers, 
sailors, Marines, and airmen stationed within the city or in surround- 
ing camps, or on leave from the bush, or just ia from the jungle 
war to die north. 

Into this military boom town late one afternoon came three thou- 
sand Marines, fresh from months of jungle fighting on Guadalcanal, 

4 1 

for a seventy-two-hour leave before proceeding to a rest camp 
farther so-nth. Many of them were infected with malaria. The club 
was not large enough to accommodate more than a small proportion 
of the Marines in town, and due to unavoidable delays, Army cots 
had not arrived. 

Moved by the Marines 7 plight, Miss Mary K. Browne, director 
of the Red Cross club, routed high-ranking Army officers from 
their quarters and brought them to the club. Their response was 
immediate. They went out themselves and dug up cots and blankets 
for five hundred men, and arranged for the transportation of the 
remainder to an Army camp outside the city. 

For services like this, Mary K. Browne won the respect and aff ec- 
tion of many American officers and enlisted men who passed through 
her club to and from the combat zones. To all of them she was 
simply "Mary K." 

Middle-aged, her black hair streaked with gray, she was as ener- 
getic and intense as in the golden days of tennis when she was 
women's national champion for three consecutive years, and played 
in mixed doubles with Big Bill Tilden. 

Arriving early in June, 1942, she was one of the first two Ameri- 
can Red Cross women club workers in Australia. A routine intro- 
duction to General MacArthur inspired her "to make a home for 
the boys away from home," in Brisbane. Recognizing her instantly, 
the General said, "Young woman, the last time I saw you was at 
Forest Hills. You were fighting for your life with Helen Wills 
Moody T and I remember how you kept hitting the ball." 

Undeterred by lack of professional training as a club worker,, 
she simply kept "hitting the ball" until she succeeded in building 
& Red Cross service club that was the pride of Australia. Her atti- 
tude was expressed in a sign on the wall: 

The extremely difficult 
We do immediately; 
The impossible 
Takes a while longer. 

She faced almost insurmountable odds because of terribly over- 
crowded conditions. The only space available was some rooms occu- 
pied by a small women's club on the top floor of a five-story 
balding in the center of the business district. This was the beginning 
of the Red Cross club in Brisbane. General MacArthur moved his 
headquarters from Melbourne to Brisbane; so did the Army Services 
&f Supply. Use by United States Navy of the Brisbane River chan- 
nel brought sailots into town. With every substantial increase of 

American military and naval personnel, Mary K. Browne took over 
more space in the building, tearing out walls here, throwing up a 
new partition there, installing hot showers and dormitories first for 
120 men, then for 150, and finally for 300 men, until the entire 
building passed into Red Cross possession. 

She established an eighteen-hour restaurant serving up to 2,000 
full meals and 2,500 short orders a day, a watch-repairing station, 
and a night club featuring a milkshake bar. She instructed Aus- 
tralian carpenters how to build a lunch counter Los Angeles style, 
and Australian sausage makers how to make authentic hot dogs. A 
laundry and pressing service, a private lounge serving as downtown 
headquarters for United States Army nurses, and a first-aid station 
with a trained nurse always in attendance, were some of the club's 
amenities. Through the information and hospitality bureau she ar- 
ranged for week-end entertaining of American servicemen by Aus- 
tralian families, 

Her work was not without its minor, as well as major, crises, 
however. On a certain Sunday evening, for instance, a new recrea- 
tion room was to have been opened with a carefully rehearsed 
soldier show. Several hours prior to curtain time, she suddenly dis- 
covered that through faulty wiring the recreation room could not 
be lighted without throwing the rest of the club into darkness. A 
modest, quiet-spoken Australian soldier offered his services. Miss 
Browne watched him work diligently all afternoon, and then, his 
task apparently completed, she went to her hotel for a rest. Presently 
the telephone rang. It was the Aussie reporting that the lights had 
fused, and where was the fuse box located? 

Mary K. was annoyed. Recalling the incident, she said: 

I knew where it was, but I was afraid to tell him for fear all 
the lights in the kitchen would also be shot. I rushed back to the 
club and found everyone worried. My assistant got me aside and 
said, "I'm afraid this Australian doesn't know too much about 

Anyway I took him to the main switch box and as he started to 
look the fuses over, I timidly asked, "Do you know enough about 
electricity to do this?" 

The youngster calmly located the faulty fuses and replaced 
them. Then he turned to me and grinned, 'Well, Miss Browne, 
I wired the tunnels at Tobruk." 

To meet this need of American servicemen and women on leave, 
the American Red Cross operated a chain of clubs. As Vice-Chair- 


man Richard F. Allen pointed out in a letter to Mr. Gamble, the 
Red Cross had a "traditional policy against charging men in the 
service for the things the Red Cross does for them." The Red Cross, 
then, was prepared to furnish beds and meals free, but Australian 
and New Zealand agencies operating similar clubs for their own 
men and women protested that this policy would embarrass them. 
Lacking large financial resources, they maintained their clubs at 
cost and requested the American Red Cross to do likewise. 

The same problem had arisen in Great Britain where the American 
Red Cross representatives were as reluctant to charge for meals and 
lodging as those in Australia. There followed a series of negotiations 
in Washington between the War Department and the Red Cross at 
which the latter fought for the principle of placing meals and lodg- 
ingthe only items at issue on the same free basis as other Red 
Cross services to the armed forces. 

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson finally laid down the War 
Department's worldwide policy on this matter. In a letter dated May 
20, 1942, to Chairman Norman H. Davis, he wrote: "The War De- 
partment appreciates the motive of the Red Cross with respect to 
this matter and its established policy of free service, but under the 
circumstances it is believed impractical, unnecessary, and undesir- 
able that food and lodging be furnished free. It is understood that 
all similar clubs in the British Isles make suitable charges for this 
particular service. It is believed advisable that American soldiers be 
required to pay at least the actual cost of meals and lodging fur- 
nished for their convenience and benefit while on furlough. Such 
procedure is considered a sound business arrangement and conforms 
to local practise. It is therefore believed that such procedure should 
be adopted because of its merit rather than because the local military 
commander requests that charges be made for the proposed services." 

The charges were nominal and did not exceed the cost of the raw 
food. For example, in one Australian city, doughboys on leave paid 
twelve cents for a bed for one night, and an additional twelve cents 
for a breakfast of ham and eggs, toast, and coffee. The porterhouse 
steak dinner they had dreamed about in their foxholes cost them 
only twenty-five cents each. Charges varied in the different theaters 
according to the currency value of the country in which the facility 
was operating. No charge was made for refreshments when served 
on special occasions, nor were charges made at any time for dough- 
nuts, coffee, and other accessories served by clubmobiles. 

The first American Red Cross club in Australia was opened in 
Melbourne in June, 1942, with the official blessings of General Sir 
Thomas Blarney, Commander in Chief of Allied Land Forces in 


Australia. It was made ready and equipped by American business- 
men with funds provided by the Red Cross. Housed in a five-story 
building with a capicity of 500 beds and a canteen capable of serv- 
ing 6,000 meals daily, this developed into the largest of the Aus- 
tralian clubs. 

* The club program as a whole was launched under the inspiring 
leadership of Miss Helen Hall, on a year's leave of absence from the 
Henry Street Settlement in New York, soon after her arrival in 
August, 1942. To this assignment Miss Hall brought a rich experi- 
ence as director of American Red Cross activities in base hospitals 
in France during World War I, and as organizer (1920-22) of serv- 
ice clubs in China and the Philippines. 

On her supervisory staff were Stanley L. Sommer, of Washington, 
D.C., a former newspaperman, and Grey M. Lusty, of Salt Lake 
City, former State Supervisor of Recreation for California. 

Their problems were numerous. The American Red Cross, enter- 
ing the market three years after the Australian Comfort Fund and 
the New Zealand Patriotic Fund, found few buildings available for 
club purposes. Stringent restrictions against wartime construction 
precluded building clubs from the ground up. Every city and dis- 
trict where United States troops were stationed or allowed on leave 
underwent careful scrutiny for buildings that might be converted 
into Red Cross service clubs. Acquisition was not easy, but through 
the Australian Hiring Authority possession was obtained of private 
hotels, a small department store, a labor union hall, a sanitarium, a 
guest house, race track sites, and other buildings. 

At Perth, a U.S. Navy base on Australia's west coast, a two-story 
boathouse standing on piles over the water was rebuilt to look like 
a ship, and a flat barge attached to it was converted into a dance hall. 
The Red Cross operated a Marine air officers* rest home near Auck- 
land, New Zealand, in a mansion of a Melbourne millionaire depart- 
ment-store owner, a former American. 

In the South Sea Islands, Red Cross clubs generally were housed 
in native-type huts with thatched roofs. The largest, 60 by 130 feet, 
was on New Caledonia. It was built of bamboo, its supporting posts 
being festooned with tree ferns and growing orchids. 

Clubs contended with varying conditions of climate and environ- 
ment. One club director wrote: "Our problems are still the same 
too little of this, too little of that, but customers, God bless them, 
plenty of customers." 

One of the serious shortages in some areas was of water for drink- 
ing, bathing, and dishwashing. Too much water, on the other hand, 
"icted an officers' rest home that had weathered a typhoon. When 


the club was finally bailed out, ducks were found floating in a bed- 
room, and a baby squab was rocking in the mosquito netting over a 
Red Cross girl's bed. 

Red Cross clubs were a modern miracle to the Marines from 
Guadalcanal. What the average Marine had dreamed about and 
wanted so much in Australia were a good bed with clean white 
sheets, a hot shower, a good meal, and plenty of recreation. It was 
not long before these American heroes learned that the Red Cross 
was the place to find all of them. After months of eating chow from 
tin mess gear at the edge of a foxhole, it seemed almost unreal to sit 
down at a table covered with a white tablecloth and be served a 
home-cooked dinner in regular china dishes by a woman volunteer 

In New Guinea, Negro GFs, in anticipation of the arrival of eight 
Negro Red Cross girls for their "Club Papuan," built them the best 
living quarters on the island. They selected a site on a hilltop over- 
looking the sea and constructed a twelve-room house, including a 
large reception hall, parlor, and a private bedroom for each girl 
and something hitherto unheard of in New Guinea a bathroom with 
flush toilets. And to bring water to the house, the men piped it for 
a quarter of a mile. 

At the height of the program there were more than 100 Red Cross 
clubs and rest homes in the South and Southwest Pacific, staffed by 
approximately 500 Red Cross staff workers from the United States, 
aided by some 20,000 local volunteers. On the map, these installa- 
tions formed an ellipse whose circumference was nearly 6,500 miles, 
extending along Australia's 2,ooo-mile eastern coast, across the Torres 
Straits into Papua, eastern Guinea, then 1,500 miles across the Coral 
Sea into New Caledonia, and down to New Zealand. They were 
separated from one another by submarine-infested waters; towering 
mountains; and vast distances of undeveloped territory, scrubby 
desert lands, and immense sheep and cattle stations. 

In New Zealand, Mrs. Tillman Durdin, wife of the New York 
Times war correspondent, assumed direction of an enlisted men's 
hostel. Mrs. James F. Clymer, long resident in Australia, formerly 
of Syracuse, New York, ran a seaside resort rest home for battle- 
weary Marines. Mrs. E. L. Moser, of Melbourne, formerly of New 
York City, flew 1,800 miles to northern Australia to establish a rest 
home for officers on leave from New Guinea; Lenore Lucas, only 
American woman correspondent accredited to General MacArthur's 
command, and wife of Walter Lucas, English war correspondent, 
transformed an old stone hotel in an isolated farming settlement 

into a homelike service club for troops stationed near a secret air 
base in Queensland. 

Miss Coletta Ryan, former apartment-house and tea room manager 
of Washington, D.C. became widely known for her outstanding 
work in behalf of servicemen in the South Pacific. She accompanied 
Mrs, Franklin D. Roosevelt on her inspection tour of Red Cross 
installations in 1943. Seeing how devoted Miss Ryan was to "her 
boys," Mrs. Roosevelt said, "You do carry each one of them in your 
heart." Miss Ryan, together with three girl assistants, came to New 
Caledonia in the early days of the war when the island was still 
very primitive. Her work later won her a promotion to supervisor 
of club service with a staff of 125 Red Cross girls. 

On New Caledonia in 1944 served Mrs. Alice Bo wring, a two- 
hundred-pound, rollicking, yet deeply understanding Australian 
woman, known to thousands of American servicemen as "Mom." 
Before the war she lived in feudal luxury at Wau, New Guinea, 
where she operated her own gold mine. The Japanese were stopped 
only three miles from her place, and then long enough for her to 
pack up and flee. In Sydney the American Red Cross employed her 
to supervise a dub kitchen because she had "experience in handling 
natives." Proving herself capable of more responsible duties, she was 
assigned as Red Cross club director on New Caledonia. One of the 
most wonderful things about her was her unrestrained laughter. Her 
hearty expressions might raise the hair on your head, yet she could 
recite Shakespeare at any given cue. Walking through the club she 
would slap a Marine on the shoulder, pause to put her arm around a 
teen-age sailor, or address a couple of Seabees in dungarees. "She 
expresses in her personality what democracy means," said one GI. 
"She's equally nice to us all, from the stars to the stripes." One 
Australian newspaper featured her as the GFs "No. i pin-up girl/* 
rating a salute of eleven guns. The members of a Seabee outfit im- 
mediately wrote asking for her picture. "You're the First Lady of 
the South Pacific," was the toast of an Australian newspaper cor- 
respondentanyway, next to Admiral Halsey, "Mom" Bowring was 
probably the best-known personality in the South Pacific from the 
equator to the tip of New Zealand. 

Red Cross club and program directors received valuable aid from 
local volunteers. Early fears of a scarcity of women and girl vol- 
unteers proved groundless. The youthfulness, exemplary behavior, 
and dash of the American troops moved women and girls to com- 
pete for the privilege of working at the American Red Cross serv- 
ice clubs. 


At one club alone 600 women were on the weekly roster, wait- 
ing on tables, handling laundry, dry cleaning, sewing, looking after 
checkrooms, and making billeting reservations. Some served on 
the hospitality committees that obtained theater passes for serv- 
icemen and women, and arranged week-end excursions into the 
Australian bush and overnight stays with Australian and New Zea- 
land families. 

All the clubs held dances, the number depending upon the size 
of the club and the ability of the community to supply dancing 
partners. The larger clubs had between 500 and 1,200 girls on their 
dance rosters, and additional hundreds on waiting lists: college coeds, 
society debs, business girls, and stenographers. To be accepted as a 
dancing partner, a girl had to be approved by a committee who 
determined her eligibility by her dancing, personality, and character 

Supplying clubs with food posed an extremely difficult problem 
of transportation, accentuated by Australia's anachronistic railway 
system, which altered its gauges at every state border. Food was 
obtained within Australia, but much club equipment, utensils, and 
other necessities had to come from the United States. For many 
months shipping from America was a serious bottleneck. Most Red 
Cross supplies were carried by air transport, especially to remote 
installations. Traveling by Red Cross personnel often was in Army 
and Navy planes. Miss Hall, Sommer, and Lusty estimated that in 
a year they traveled about 120,000 miles by air. The supply problem 
primarily was the concern of Albert A. Scott, of Arlington, Massa- 
chusetts, in charge of purchasing, and his staff of Australians, New 
Zealanders, Englishmen, and Free Frenchmen, as well as of Dow 
Sweeny, of Akron, Red Cross expediter. This staff somehow man- 
aged to get results. Its accomplishments were due to skill and 
ingenuity, to the good old Army game of bartering, and to e^tra- 
official sympathy and co-operation from military and civilian leaders 
all the way down the line. 

Red Cross clubs were intended to be "a little bit of America" for 
United States servicemen and women and merchant seamen, but 
Allied troops were also welcome. 

While most clubs were for enlisted personnel, Army and Navy 
officers were not overlooked. For them the Red Cross operated clubs 
in Sydney, Mackay, New Zealand, and on New Caledonia. Officers 
on leave otherwise might have been compelled to live in camps. 

Red Cross clubs in places having large concentrations of Negro 
troops were staffed by professional Negro Red Cross men and 
women workers. 

Distinct from service clubs were rest homes, or rest areas, oper- 
ated by the Red Cross. These establishments were for enlisted men 
and officers convalescing from wounds or tropical diseases; Air Force 
personnel in need of a change from combat flying; and nurses on 
leave from long months of work in forward hospitals. Heroes of the 
first assault on Tulagi and Tanambogo in the Solomons many of 
them malaria victimsconvalesced at one of these rest areas, a large 
country estate with surfing facilities, golf, and horseback riding. 
Some veterans of the 3znd Division back from the Buna campaign 
rested at Coolangatta, a popular winter resort not far from Brisbane. 
Nurses, exhausted by the tropic heat and grime of New Guinea, 
toned up their health and mental outlook at their own rest homes in 
Sydney, Brisbane, and Townsville. An atmosphere of pleasant, 
friendly informality prevailed. After months of wearing their uni- 
forms nurses were relieved to find that they could take their meals 
in their wrappers if they wished. A comfortable bed, hot-water 
showers, and good food were a welcome contrast to the discomforts 
of the jungle. Each club ran a beauty parlor where the girls could 
get their hair done and their nails manicured, a service unheard of 
in the advanced areas. 

There were several rest areas in the South-Southwest Pacific 
theater. One of them was the Kia Ora, perched high on a hilltop 
overlooking the beautiful harbor of Auckland, New Zealand. An 
interesting departure from the routine for its officer guests was a 
buffet supper from ten to eleven P.M. when guests raided the ice 
box of cold chicken, ham, pickles, and other delicatessen. To each 
registrant was given a small silver Maori charm, called a tiki., which 
officers cherished on combat missions as a token of good luck. From 
Kia Ora, as from Auckland and Wellington, the Red Crass organized 
trips to Rotorua, New Zealand's own version of the Yellowstone 
National Park, home of the Maoris. The Red Cross hospitality center 
in Rotorua made all the local arrangements for the visiting Ameri- 
cans. Built around a huge cone of bubbling hot-water springs, the 
town has been developed into a commercial resort of international 
renown. The boys were amused to see Maoris cooking over steam 
holes between rocks, each family having staked out its own outdoor 
kitchen. The climax of the entertainment program was Maori folk 
dances done by natives in picturesque costumes. 

The largest rest area, consisting of fourteen buildings within two 
city blocks, was located at Mackay on Australia's northeastern coast. 
Built at the request of Lieutenant General George C. Kenney for 
his Fifth Air Force personnel, it was opened by Red Cross Super- 
visor Grey M. Lusty on April i, 1943. Many thousands of American 

. . . .... , . 49 

servicemen went through this resort in 1943 and 1944, the guest 
list averaging about eight hundred daily. 

There were no bugle calls at Mackay, the men going to bed and 
getting up when they pleased. The Army took care of their pay, 
clothing, and health, including dental service, and the American 
Red Cross provided food, billeting, and recreation. 

This undertaking was a good example of the tremendous amount 
of work and ingenuity that often went into Red Cross facilities 
overseas. Supervisor Lusty was at the Townsville club early in 
March, 1943, when a telephone call by Miss Helen Hall summoned 
him to the airport. Between planes, she outlined some of General 
Kenney's ideas regarding a rest home for his fatigued fliers. Lusty 
hadn't the least idea where he could find a suitable site in a country 
already overrun with military and naval installations. At Townsville 
he got on a train with a ticket which permitted stopovers at each 
station. After inspecting several towns along the railroad, Lusty 
finally came to Mackay, a town of 15,000 people, the center of an 
agricultural region, and built with broad streets and beautiful 
shade trees like those of American country towns. In its favor was 
the fact that it lay outside the malaria belt. Lusty lost no time calling 
on the mayor and the town's leading citizens. Within twenty-four 
hours he had thirteen buildings centered around a large hotel, and 
through the Australian Hiring Authority leased them for the Red 

Within three days after his initial visit, Lusty brought Douglass 
Malin, of Glendale, California, who was to become the rest area's 
first director. Malin, a former construction man, engaged a local 
contractor to renovate the buildings. Laborers followed the Aus- 
tralian custom of "boiling the billey," or stopping for morning and 
afternoon tea, and monsoon rains delayed equipment by washing 
out railroad tracks, but the job was completed within a month. 

Though the first group of weary airmen arrived on April i, there 
were still some details to be worked out before the resort was ac- 
ceptable. Local farmers, potential producers of the rest area's milk, 
vegetables, meat, and poultry, were found to be far behind the 
times in sanitation and health standards. Pasteurization, refrigeration, 
and tuberculin tests of dairy herds were unheard of, and for a time 
the Red Cross and the Army faced a serious problem with farmers 
protesting innovations entailing expense. But diplomacy, patience, 
free Army veterinarian service, and premium prices combined to 
bring about a victory for progress. More than 2,000 head of cattle 
were vaccinated. The Red Cross rented and operated the local ice 
plant and advanced funds to the local creamery to install a modern 

pasteurization plant. To insure a steady supply of fresh eggs and 
poultry, the Red Cross took over and modernized a poultry farm 
near Mackay, and within two weeks stocked it with 1,500 poultry- 
chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. 

Groups of men were flown in "from New Guinea on a ten-day 
leave. Each day three large Army transport planes taxied down the 
field and stopped close to an Army bus. Out piled the Yanks, some 
dressed in regulation khaki, some in fatigue coveralls. Without ex- 
ception they had that jungle look faces pallid, drawn, and thin, 
and eyes somewhat apathetic. In a minute or two they were headed 
for town. As their bus passed through Mackay's shaded streets with 
well-kept lawns and attractive houses, their interest quickened. 

The bus stopped at a hotel with a large red sign across the front 
bearing the legend, "American Red Cross." Picking up their flight 
bags, they piled out of the bus and were greeted with a friendly, 
"Hello, gang, how about some good fresh ice-cold milk and cake?" 

The greeting was extended by Catherine Steltz, of Harrisburg, 
Pennsylvania, assistant club director, called "Kay" by everybody. 
She directed the men to a table upon which stood a milk can and 
plates piled high with frosted cake. For the next ten minutes, amid 
an exchange of banter, she poured milk, gallons of it, into the large 
paper cups held tightly by men tasting fresh milk for the first time 
in more than a year. 

The milk and cake, combined with Kay's friendly smile, broke 
down their reserve as they gathered around her. They wanted to 
get a good look at her. She didn't mind the special attention. In fact, 
she rather enjoyed it. Anyway, she explained the routine followed 
by guests at Mackay, and told of the meals, laundry service, barber 
shop, free mending service, and the recreation program. "And now," 
she concluded, "pick up your bags, and Danny will show you where 
you're going to sleep. You've just enough time for a hot shower and 
a change before the first call for dinner." 

Danny, the Australian employee, led his charges to their quarters, 
where they picked up an unmistakable aroma of frying steaks and 
potatoes coming from the kitchen. 

The cost of meals to enlisted men was as follows: breakfast and 
lunch, 25 cents; dinner, 32 cents. Officers paid slightly more. Dining 
tables were covered with clean white tablecloths. The waitresses 
were pretty young Australian girls. In addition to two dining rooms, 
the Red Cross operated three snack bars, or soda fountain lunch 
counters, two in town and the third at a near-by beach resort, all 
dispensing ice cream, sodas, banana splits, soft drinks, hamburgers, 

and chicken sandwiches. In all, these soldiers consumed three hun- 
dred gallons of milk daily. 

On Club Director Douglass Malin's original staff were Dwight 
H. Hunter, of Macon, Georgia, program director; Robert H. 
Brumett, of Rockf ord, Illinois, recreation supervisor; Marcille Gun- 
titter, of Los Angeles, assistant program director; Esther Morgan, of 
Columbia, Missouri, personal service director; and Miss Steltz. Three 
months after the opening, Herbert L. Patrick, of Portland, Maine, 
succeeded MaHn as club director, and during a tenure of many 
months developed the resort to the highest point of efficiency. 

Miss Gunther organized a volunteer group of five hundred Aus- 
tralian girls to help entertain the soldier guests. Known as the Air 
Force Victorettes, the girls participated in nightly dances, beach 
parties, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing trips, ping-pong, tennis, 
cycling, and skating parties. When Mrs. Roosevelt visited Mackay 
in 1943 she was warmly greeted by these Victorettes, who made her 
an honorary member. 

Mrs. Verna Brittain, Red Cross staff assistant, a former Ziegfeld 
Follies girl, the wife of an Englishman, was living in Singapore 
when the war began. Always a few hours ahead of the onrushing 
Japanese forces, she flew first to Borneo, then to Java, from there 
to Darwin, and finally to Melbourne where she joined the Ameri- 
can Red Cross. An attractive blond, she drew upon her theatrical 
experience to organize and train a chorus of Australian girls, called 
the Brittainettes, who danced and sang for the men Sunday evenings. 
Later she resigned from the Red Cross to rejoin her husband in 
India. While in the Indian Ocean, the ship on which she was a pas- 
senger was attacked by Japanese surface craft and she was taken 

Airs. Eleanor Seavers, of Pittsburgh, beat out the rhythm for the 
jam sessions, held whenever a half-dozen men gathered around the 

Esther Morgan was the "Mother Cross" of the staff, who advised 
the boys on problems of the heart and purse. 

Twice a week Mary Sullivan, of St. Louis, and Jane Randolph, of 
Millwood, Virginia, mounted their favorite steeds and rode with 
forty to fifty GFs to Dunibleton Beach for a swim and a picnic. 

As part of its recreation program, the Red Cross leased Eimeo 
Beach, ten miles from Mackay, with a hotel perched on a promon- 
tory overlooking the blue Pacific. Each morning Army buses 
brought soldiers and Victorettes to this resort, and each evening 
took them back to Mackay. 

Ten days of this unmilitary life of ease and fun rejuvenated the 
5 2 

fighting men. They averaged a gain of seven pounds for the leave 
period. Color returned to their cheeks. And the memories were a 
continuing strength to their spirits when they returned to the drab 
life in the jungles. 

Success of the Mackay idea led the Army to start a mass furlough 
program for ground troops on New Guinea and other islands in 
December, 1943. Each unit furnished a proportionate number of its 
men to this vacation pool, selections being based on the length of 
service of a year or more in the Southwest Pacific. Tired GTs by 
the thousands from all the forward areas were assembled periodically 
at various concentration points along the New Guinea coast, and 
from there were shipped by the Army Transport Service to Sydney. 
Aboard the transports were Red Cross workers serving the officers 
and men as usual At the height of the leave program in 1944, six 
ships ran on a regular schedule, transporting vacation-bound Army 
personnel to Sydney and returning with those who had completed 
their leave. 

Upon their arrival in Sydney, officers and men became guests of 
the American Red Cross. Its six large Sydney clubsthree for offi- 
cers, three for enlisted personnel-and the Red Cross nurses' rest 
home for Army nurses on leave were filled to capacity; the Army 
took care of the overflow in temporary facilities, or in Brisbane. 

The Red Cross assumed responsibility for a planned recreation 
program. Glorious memories were stored up by the boys to take 
back to their jungle foxholes. The Red Cross took over Bondi 
Beach, Sydney's largest municipal bathing pavilion and one of 
Australia's most beautiful resorts, and operated it solely for the 
vacationing Yanks and their guests. This resort was the focal point 
of all Red Cross entertainment and recreation for the boys. Sydney's 
most glamorous bathing beauties gave bathing exhibitions. They 
were part of some ten thousand Australian volunteers who helped 
the overworked Red Cross staff, led by Hinson L. Trites, of Des 
Moines, area director, provide parties, dances, excursions, sightseeing 
trips, motion pictures, and live shows, and home hospitality. 

The American Red Cross in this theater also served the sick and 
wounded. Red Cross workers were in the collecting stations through 
which casualties were cleared, and on hospital ships. 

On the Australian mainland, all transport facilities for the 
wounded were attended by Red Cross workers. One of them wrote: 
"We service all hospital trains either by passing through or by 
making up supplies for destinations beyond. During one month we 
serviced about 1,100 patients on hospital trains." Patients were given 
soft drinks, cigarettes, matches, gum, candy, a newspaper. Slippers, 


socks, sweaters, and comfort articles were distributed to those 
needing them. 

The Red Cross furnished traditional services to the six U.S. Naval 
hospitals In the Southwest Pacific. Expeditions by boats and barges 
fur swimming, fishing, and picnics were popular in the recreation 
program of these hospitals. 

The Harvard Unit in Australia-an Army general hospital of- 
fered unusual incentives for the highest type of Red Cross work. 
The Red Cross recreation building contained a lounge, a reading 
room pleasantly furnished with brown and green leather chester- 
fields, a library, and a large game room with ping-pong, pool, and 
card tables, a piano, and many brightly colored beach chairs. The 
Red Cross staff had a well-developed program for social service and 
recreation. Patient-built glass showcases exhibited articles from the 
arts and class. 

In another hospital patients made an old-fashioned bar complete 
with rail. But it served only lemonade and coffee. Carrying out the 
Western frontier motif in the recreation room, a Negro artist 
painted a Western mural on the knotty-pine walls, while cutout 
maps of Western states were placed in blackout windows. Dart and 
ring-toss alleys were set up In a sort of double-horse stall in one 
corner of the room, and a modified bowling alley in the other. 

In the fall of 1944 there were 475 Red Cross hospital workers in 
the Pacific areas. 

By the time of General MacArthur's landing on Leyte in the 
Philippines, Australia and New Zealand had been left far to the rear 
of military operations. As the Red Cross advanced with MacArthur's 
forward echelons, many of its facilities in rear areas were gradually 
discontinued. In New Zealand only one hospital unit and one field 
director remained, while on some of the smaller islands installations 
were dismantled and staffs sent forward. Clubs in Australian and 
New Zealand cities were also being closed down as the need for 
them diminished. 

And on November i, 1944, Red Cross Southwest Pacific head- 
quarters were moved from Brisbane to Hollandia, New Guinea, 
with Nyles I. Christensen, of San Francisco, as director of opera- 

In New Guinea Red Cross workers missed the thousands of Aus- 
tralian volunteers who had given them such valuable assistance. 
Missed also were the genuine hospitality and neighborliness of the 
Australian and New Zealand people, whose friendship for homesick 
Yanks will remain a treasured memory. The Australian Red Cross 
and the Australian Comforts Fund gave valuable assistance to the 


American Red Cross, especially In the early days. American citizens 
permanently resident on the continent were similarly helpful. 

Out of this wartime experience has grown a movement centering 
around the "Australian-American Association" which has for Its 
main objective the promotion of permanent good will between the 
two peoples. 


Chapter IV 




fighting men, dressed in green coveralls and jungle caps, were seated 
on logs nailed to stumps in a jungle clearing. Their eyes were riveted 
on a portable screen, made out of bamboo poles, showing The 
Vanishing Virginian. The blue New Guinea sky was their ceiling, 
the dense jungle growth about them the acoustic walls. No more 
notice was taken of the cacaphony of weird jungle noises than of 
the sound of gunfire which came intermittently from the front 
lines not far away. . . .Thunder and lightning, and a shower poured 
down on them. The parakeets overhead that had been dashing from 
tree to tree took flight, and so did the mosquitoes. But the soldiers 
remained in their seats to the end of the picture. "Jungle Jim" 
Stewart, Red Cross field director, operating the i6-mm. projector, 
asked whether they were in a mood to see another picture, and the 
response was overwhelming. So, in spite of the rain, Stewart went 

ahead with the projecting of The Kid Glove Killer The rain 

stopped, the parakeets returned, and the mosquitoes came back to 
raise more welts on the soldiers' arms and legs. . . . Suddenly the alert 
sounded and accomplished what the rain had failed to do. The boys 

dived into their slit-trenches, but as soon as the Japanese bombers 
left, they hopped out and went on with the show. 

Incidents such as this, illustrating the hunger of front-line troops 
for entertainment, were common during the Buna campaign of 1942. 
Among his other Red Cross services, Stewart showed American films. 
His career in Papua was a continuation of exciting war experiences. 
Back in 1941 he had enlisted as a driver for the American Field 
Service on the Libyan desert. While en route, his ship, the Egyptian 
liner Zcmrzam, was torpedoed by a German surface raider and he 
was taken prisoner. On his way through occupied France to a Ger- 
man internment camp he escaped, made his way to the American 
embassy at Vichy, and subsequently was repatriated. 

Back in his home town of Oneonta, New York, Jimmy Stewart, 
still restless, decided to volunteer for General Claire L. Chennault's 
Flying Tigers. He was on the Pacific en route to Burma when his 
ship received a flash announcing the Pearl Harbor attack. Changing 
its course, the ship put in at Melbourne, Australia, where Stewart 
applied for active service with the American Red Cross. 

He drew the hottest assignment in the Southwest Pacific Port 
Moresby, Allied outpost on New Guinea's southern coast. In the 
desperate days of April, May, and June, 1942, Port Moresby, never 
more than a frontier town, was hurriedly converted into an armed 
camp without a vestige of civilian life. The town was pitted with 
bomb craters, and its makeshift roads had been churned into mire 
by heavy-wheeled military traffic. The first American troops landed 
in a depressing atmosphere of malaria, enervating heat, and a monoto- 
nous diet of corned willy, hardtack, and canned fruit. 

It was "Jungle Jim" Stewart's responsibility to help soften the 
rigors of this life for the American troops. Riding in an Army jeep, 
he covered a vast territory from the beaches deep into the dark 
jungles. Since, in the early days, only essentials ammunition and 
minimum food rations received priority on the air transports, he 
distributed few Red Cross supplies. His i6-mm. projector, gener- 
ator, portable screen, and American films proved a godsend. With 
the assistance of doughboys, he hacked outdoor movie theaters out 
of the jungle and rode the circuit nightly in his jeep. Intermissions, 
caused by Japanese air raids, came often. His office was a shack 
turned over to him by the RAAF. The clearing in front of the 
shack was promptly named "Dogface Avenue," and his slit-trench, 
"Poobah Palace." With Port Moresby under day-and-night air at- 
tacks, communications between the Red Cross office and Poobah 
Palace were excellent, according to Stewart. 


In the spring of 1942 Japan set out to nail down the empire she 
had overrun with such ease during the first three months after Pearl 
Harbor. Her plan was to seize certain key points in the Pacific out- 
side the rim of her initial conquests. With landings in the Solomon 
Islands and along the northeastern coast of New Guinea, and with 
the concentration at Rabaul, New Britain, of strong invasion forces, 
she revealed her strategy to invade Australia by a pincers movement. 
One wing would take the islands of New Hebrides and New Cale- 
donia, severing the vital supply line from the United States to Aus- 
tralia, and bringing Japanese forces within striking distance of 
Australia's populous southeastern coast. 

The other wing of the pincers was aimed at Port Moresby, from 
where an attack on northern Australia could be launched. Late in 
July a strong Japanese invasion force landed at Buna, on New 
Guinea's northern coast, to begin a powerful and determined drive 
across the Owen Stanley Range to Port Moresby by way of Kokoda. 
While a Japanese force was pushing across the mountains, another 
landed along the swampy shores of Milne Bay threatening the Allied 
positions on the peninsula. This invasion was short-lived. The Jap- 
anese, caught in a trap laid for them by General MacArthur, were 
soon wiped out. 

Fighting along the steep and densely forested Kokoda Trail, on the 
other hand, was savage and bloody. Not until they had driven to a 
point forty miles from Port Moresby were the Japanese finally 
turned back. Once the i4,ooo-foot Owen Stanley Range had been 
crossed by Australian and American troops, the battle for Buna, 
Japanese base on the north coast, picked up momentum. Heart- 
breaking difficulites of terrain and climate, fanatic resistance, and 
every conceivable transportation obstacle plagued the Allies. Using 
unarmed transport planes, the Fifth Army Air Force, under com- 
mand of Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, ferried an Allied 
ground force of thousands of troops and their equipment over the 
range, supplied them daily with ammunition, food, and medicines, 
and flew back the wounded. Before Buna the Japanese had an almost 
perfect defensive position: shielded in front by an impassable sago 
swamp, behind by the ocean, and on the flanks by a narrow defile 
held in depth by fortresses built out of giant coconut logs and sand. 
The final Allied assault to break through these defenses developed 
in November under the personal direction of General MacArthur. 

The American Red Cross, like the Army, depended largely on na- 
tive labor for ground transportation during the campaign. Red Cross 
blood plasma, surgical dressings, and many comfort and recreational 


supplies, dropped by parachute, were carried to the front lines by 
the fuzzy-haired Papuans whom the soldiers called "boongs." 

American troops came in contact with the sturdy black Christian 
Melanesians along the north coast, with those of a lighter shade in 
the east, and seldom with the Negro pygmies of the deep interior. 
Descendants of head-hunters, these peaceful natives before the war 
had labored on copra plantations or in the gold mines at Wau, or 
had lived by farming and fishing. When the Japanese seized Buna, 
they forced many of them to work as pack animals on their over- 
land drive toward Port Moresby. Torn from their native villages 
and families, and beaten unmercifully, the natives hated the Jap- 
anese and hailed the Allies as saviors. Yanks and Aussies alike were 
instructed to treat them like human beings and to respect their 
native customs and superstitions. To kindness, the boongs responded 
with loyalty and enthusiastic work, which contributed to the ulti- 
mate success of the Buna campaign. 

Native assistance was vital particularly during the initial, secret 
stages of the ^campaign when Allied troops were being landed on 
improvised air strips encircling Japanese positions. Though the 
"bamboo telegraph" spread the news far and wide among natives, 
the Japanese were kept in the dark until the actual assault had 
begun. Meantime United States Army engineers, assisted by hun- 
dreds of natives, had carved out landing fields, located and improved 
the best jeep trails, and otherwise blazed the way for the Allied 
assault troops. 

As the campaign developed with more or less fixed lines of com- 
munication and supplies, contracts were made by the Army with 
the various village chiefs for labor under the supervision of the 
ANGAU (Australia-New Guinea Administrative Unit) composed 
of government officials long resident in New Guinea who spoke the 
Motuan language fluently. The American Red Cross obtained na- 
tive labor through the Army. The Allies could not have bought the 
loyalty of these sturdy, lithe natives. They were happy in Allied 
employ. Marching in almost continuous procession to and from the 
front lines, they grinned jovially every time they met a white man 
along the trail, singing out a friendly "good day," with an occa- 
sional "hokay," or "hokay, Joe" thrown in. 

The Papuans started out wearing loin cloths, but as the Buna cam- 
paign progressed some picked up odd bits of discarded American 
and Japanese uniforms, which they wore with ludicrous effect. 

Occasionally they wrapped themselves in a white cloth stamped 
with a red cross. To the white man's kcti-kai, or food, they took 


with ease, and considered themselves lucky when they received a 
stick of chewing gum from a Red Cross comfort kit. 

In the absence of money, natives and Americans carried on a barter 
trade. For a razor blade a native would do a man's washing. A ciga- 
rette bought a green coconut. For jungle souvenirs the boys from 
Brooklyn, Paducah, Springfield, and Sugar Notch gave the natives 
colored beads and bangles, and tall combs. The boongs taught the 
Americans some of their jungle tricks, such as lighting a fire with- 
out the aid of matches, a particularly useful device in the humid 
Papuan climate: a thin stick about a foot long was rubbed up and 
down a groove in a log until the friction on the fine wood dust 
brought a spark and then a flame. Sometimes they lit a native ciga- 
rette with the flame, their cigarette, incidentally, being a foot long 
made of licorice-black native tobacco rolled in newspaper. 

In the Buna campaign the American fighting man faced two dan- 
gerous enemies: the jungle and the Japanese. The enervating drain 
upon the system of the one reduced his effectiveness against the 
other. Habits of sanitation helped in the jungle. The men dressed in 
green coveralls as a protection against mosquitoes and bush cuts 
which might lead to infection. Latrines were carefully covered. At 
the end of the mess line in every outpost camp were big tins of 
boiling water used by the men to wash and scald their mess gear 
before and after chow. They bathed in jungle streams, and when the 
latter were polluted, they used improvised outdoor showers, or 
their helmets. Quinine and atabrine tablets were taken regularly. 

These precautions, while cutting down the number of infections, 
could not eliminate them altogether under combat conditions. To 
give prompt relief to the victims of malaria, dengue, dysentery and 
other tropical diseases, as well as to the wounded, the Axmy Medical 
Corps sent portable hospitals into the forward areas with sufficient 
supplies, tents, and cots to handle the flow of casualties. As Allied 
lines advanced through the jungle, these portable hospitals pulled 
stakes and moved with them. 

Native teams took over the sick and wounded at portable hospitals. 
Often the same natives who had brought the precious Red Cross 
blood plasma which saved a man's life carried the patient over the 
most difficult part of his journey out of the jungle. The natives 
might trudge for days through weird and difficult terrain before 
coming to the jeep trail. At this junction the stretchers were placed 
crosswise on jeeps which were to transport the patients to an air 
strip. They were then flown over the Owen Stanley Range to evacu- 
ation hospitals along the coastal strip in the Port Moresby area. 

The gentleness of these jungle natives was a never-ending surprise 

to the Americans. They fashioned comfortable stretchers out of sap- 
lings and covered the patients with palm leaves to keep the hot sun 
out of their eyes. When it rained they stopped only long enough to 
cover the stretcher with its waterproof ground sheet. They took no 
more notice of torrential rains than of the sound of artillery and 
machine-gun fire. And so, through the quagmire mud of jungle 
tracks, where white men floundered and stumbled and cursed, the 
duck-like feet of the Papuans kept a steady, even pace. Their con- 
tinual chatter, with its undercurrent of gurgling laughter and inter- 
mittent "sing-sings' 7 was broken now and then by die sharp 
commands of the Boss Boy. When the shift of a team was over, 
the bamboo struts of the sick white man's stretcher changed hands, 
and the relief team carried on with a minimum of discomfort to the 
patient. Hour after hour, along dark, clammy passageways tunneled 
through jungle undergrowth, along narrow footways above a sheer 
thousand-foot drop of jungle-clad cliff, through fast-running moun- 
tain creeks and over slippery log bridges, the procession went on. 

Upon arrival at Port Moresby the patients were met at the air- 
ports by Army nurses and Red Cross girls offering a cigarette, a 
cool drink, a smile and word of encouragement. In the Port Moresby 
area in those days there were the i53rd Station Hospital, and the 
loth and lyist Evacuation Hospitals. The three Red Cross girls who 
arrived during the Buna campaign were stationed at the lyist, com- 
manded by Lieutenant C. T. Wilkinson, of Wake Forest, North 
Carolina; and they also served patients in the other two hospitals. 
The unit was comprised of Miss Susan Tate, of Washington, D.C.; 
Mrs. Ethel Knapp, of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; and Miss Helen 
Marie Carroll, of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Dressed in GI 
shoes, woolen socks, and khaki culottes, Miss Tate, former Capital 
stenographer, devoted mornings to tramping muddy paths between 
wards collecting and taking dictated messages, the afternoons to 
writing and transmitting them. Mrs. Ethel Knapp, recreation 
worker, won the affection of a host of American doughboys, 
who called her "Knappie." She took the same warm personal inter- 
est in them as in students at Bucknell University where she once 
was a fraternity housemother. 

Miss Carroll, a social worker, in the following account describes 
the rugged pioneering life led by herself and her two associates at 
that remote outpost: 

The grim, merciless battle for Buna was at its height when 
Ethel Knapp, Susan Tate, and I arrived in New Guinea, with the 
loth Hospital Unit. It was with some misgivings but no little an- 


ticipation that we set up our Red Cross tent somewhere along 
the road out of Port Moresby, leading to the Kokoda Trail. 

As soon as we arrived at the site of our hospital encampment, 
the work of clearing away scrub got under way. We were 
assigned to the nurses' quarters two rows of pyramidal tents, 
each holding three "residents." 

We had no electricity. Ice was only a tantalizing memory. 
Laundry service was something you talked about as ancient his- 
tory. Our nearest water supply was five miles from camp and had 
to be brought in 250-gallon capacity water carts, pulled by trucks, 
and spaced over the different areas. Drinking water had to be 
chlorinated in Lister-bags. Until the Red Cross flew a couple of 
ice-making machines over from the Australian mainland, lukewarm 
chlorinated water was the "national drink" of New Guinea. 

Naturally, showers were non-existent, and washing ourselves of 
dust molded into mud by perspiration, presented a very real prob- 
lem in personal sanitation. Each nurse and Red Cross worker was 
supplied with an ordinary bucket. This we filled with water at the 
water cart, trudged back with it to our tent, and, putting one 
foot at a time into the bucket, struggled through the nearest 
approach we could make to a bath. 

Later on, however, we enjoyed real luxury. A wall-tent was set 
up near the water cart, and in it was installed three galvanized- 
iron wash tubs in which we could stand with both feet, and splash 
ourselves to our heart's content. But after a hard day's work in 
the enervating heat most of us were much too tired to fill the 
tub with the three or four pails full of water, and reverted to our 
original, though less luxurious, method. 

The experience of the unit during its preliminary six months in 
Australia gave us good preparation for New Guinea. In the Aussie 
bush we were stationed at a small hospital, meagerly equipped. 
Here improvisation or "doing without" things considered essential 
at home was not the exception. Consequently, when our New 
Guinea hospital was serving patients far beyond its designated 
capacity, lack of facilities in themselves did not create excessive 
hardship. Here we had no "goldbricks" or "bed-warmers." 

When those battle-seasoned doughboys, garbed in their hideous 
camouflage-green jungle uniforms, sat or stood around the admit- 
ting-tents, it was hard to recognize in them the young, clean-cut 
American lads we had known in Australia and in the States. They 
were so thin, almost emaciated, their clothes, filthy and ragged. 
None was clean-shaven; their face growth varied from a short 
stubble to a full-grown beard. Their hair was long and shaggy. 


But nothing could keep down the spirit of these boys for long. 
After they had been cleaned up and their wounds attended to, 
they came back to normal. 

Everyone of those boys had a story to tell. One had lain in a 
mudhole surrounded by Japs and "played dead" for three days. 
When asked why he had even tried to hold out after the first day, 
he said he honestly did not know, but that something made him 
want to stay alive and "hit back at those Japs" just as soon as he 

Another boy was bayoneted seven times by a Japanese soldier 
who then took his rations and ate them while sitting on him. The 
bayonet wounds were not serious, probably because the Jap was 
too weak from hunger. 

Just as it does in the front lines, comradeship flourishes in the 
hospital wards. Not a day passed but that I wasn't deeply touched 
and impressed by the concern these lads expressed some with a 
New England twang, others with a Southern drawl, a few with 
a Bronx vociferation, and a great number whose roots were in the 
Middle West for their bedfellows. If some boy was having a 
particularly bad time, we'd be informed of it by no less than two 
or three solicitous whispers. If a newcomer was in need of Red 
Cross supplies, you could be sure we'd learn about it the moment 
we'd enter the tent. 

We made a point of visiting each boy as soon as he came to the 
hospital, and out of the Red Cross storage tent we were able to 
distribute razor blades, tooth brushes, talcum powder, dental 
cream, shaving cream, combs, handkerchiefs, cigarettes, soap, slip- 
pers, corncob pipes, ditty bags, etc., with the minimum of red tape 
or time-lag. 

After they had settled down with these primary requirements, 
we would see them about their other problems. Money belts, wal- 
lets, irreplaceable photographs, and pay-books, lost at the front, 
were traced; friends or relatives, believed nearby, were located; 
letters and packages were ferreted out and delivered; inquiries 
about their family's welfare were made through the Home Service 
of their hometown Red Cross chapters; haircuts and EFM [Ex- 
peditionary Force Message; canned messages available to troops 
overseas at reduced rates] cables were paid for from Red Cross 

In her native-built recreation hut, Mrs. Ethel Knapp really pro- 
vided her boys with diversion from their nightmarish front-line 
experiences. Here she managed to assemble a ping-pong table, a 
piano (a piano seems to be a very essential instrument for morale 

wherever you go out here) a short-wave radio set on which we 
got programs from San Francisco, a number of table games, a 
couple of writing tables and a library of some 300 volumes. Books 
were in very great demand; seldom were there more than fifty 
left on the shelves at one time. 

Twice a week we screened Hollywood films under the mango 
and coconut trees. Some of these films were of pretty ancient vin- 
tage, but that did not matter to these fighting men who had not 
seen American girls, or for that matter, any white women, in 
months. Fd often see the same faces sitting through two consecu- 
tive showings of the same picture. 

One is constantly frustrated by telephones that don't work, with 
struggles to get transportation to visit neighboring units for in- 
formation and supplies. The heat and mud, the shortage of water 
and the sameness of food wear you down. But knowing how much 
your efforts mean to these boys is compensation enough for any- 
one. Fd do it again, and jump at the chance. 

In mid-December, shortly after the Australians had entered Gona 
to the north, American troops under General MacArthur captured 
Buna, the objective of one of the most sanguinary battles in the 
Pacific. Thus was finished the job begun in the Battle of the Coral 
Sea. The Japanese threat to Australia from the north was now at 
an end. 

This victory was sweet indeed to General MacArthur's men. But, 
facing a relentless foe, they could not rest on their laurels. With the 
approach of Christmas, however, their thoughts turned homeward. 
For many it was their first overseas Christmas, and they could not 
help feeling homesick and low in spirit. 

Imagine their reaction, then, to the appearance of the American 
Red Cross in the role of Santa Claus! Through the personal inter- 
vention of General MacArthur the Red Cross spread Chrismas cheer 
aU along the front, from the rear base at Port Moresby to the re- 
motest foxhole in the forward area. 

The Port Moresby phase of that memorable Christmas observance 
is best told by the woman who arranged it Helen Hall, director of 
American Red Cross service clubs and rest areas in the South and 
Southwest Pacific. Miss HalFs account, quoted from her article in 
The Survey Graphic, follows: 

In the words of the old carol, "Christmas comes but once a 
year." But this winter, as last, tens of thousands of American fami- 
lies whose sons are soldiers or sailors, Marines or airmen, must have 

made the discovery that it really comes twice. That sixteenth 
century axiom does not hold if it runs, for example, to the South 
and Southwest Pacific. Christmas falls in midsummer in New 
Guinea and we celebrated it there last year in a huge grass hut the 
day before it came at home. All because the earth tilts a bit and 
spins in its path around the sun. 

At Army headquarters on the mainland, General MacArthur had 
forecast early in November that within six weeks the Australians 
and Americans would have pushed the Japanese back far enough 
across the Stanley Range for me to bring women into New 
Guinea to start American Red Cross service clubs 

My hope was that we could get something going by the holi- 
days. In the interval, General MacArthur himself had gone to 
Port Moresby, the landing stage for the New Guinea operations. 
Less than two weeks before Christmas, I took off to report and 
see if he were ready for us. 

Our seaplane alighted in a tropical downpour, an open boat 
ferried us to the dock, and I climbed out soggy and dripping. 
My companion was a Red Cross medical social service worker 
assigned to a hospital. There was a telephone in a small shed and 
a startled voice at the other end of the line switched nervously 
from "Yes, sir" to "Yes, mjfam," and then back again to "sir," in 
the conviction that a woman's voice must have been a mistake. 

In my early months in the Southwest Pacific I often met this sort 
of surprise and incredulity. Once I was able to prove I wasn't a 
trick of the eye or ear, the welcome was always heartwarming 
enough to make up for rugged traveling. 

Anny nurses had preceded us to Moresby and would afford 
shelter. That evening two Red Cross men drove us over, cau- 
tiously, by a rocky, roundabout way through the hills, some miles 
longer than the shore road. Their concern, it proved, was to pro- 
tect womankind from passing even in the dark any un-unif ormed 
forces stripped for a cool swim. We reached our destination 
about nine o'clock and were given a charming welcome by a head 
nurse with sparkling eyes who made things look easy as she put 
at our disposal such comforts as were available in New Guinea 
at the time. In my case, these consisted of a khaki tent shared 
with two nurses, a bed with a khaki mosquito bar, a khaki coverall 
to slide into quickly in case of an air raid, a helmet and what I 
needed most of all a "bully beef" sandwich. My recollection is of 
a big hunk of bread and canned meat which could scarcely have 
been called tasty, yet I shall never forget how glad I was to get it. 

We were put to bed soon after. I was about to sink in with 


gratitude under my netting, when an alert sounded. Every light 
went off. It had seemed strange, after the browned-out night 
cities of Australia, to get comparatively near the front and find it 
brightly lighted. There was no blackout in the Moresby area 
such as we practiced in New York. A single switch, I was told, 
put every bulb out of commision at once. With the steel helmet 
wobbling on my head, I took the friendly hand of a nurse who 
piloted me to a slit trench in front of our tent. Other nurses 
joined us there and we sat in the wet in our coveralls, feet dangling 
in the trench, as we fought the mosquitoes together. As the real 
attack got nearer, the ack-ack made Fourth of July of the southern 
sky, hunting for Nip planes. We had watched the searchlights 
disclose these like reluctant flies before I was dragged into the 
trench. This was my first raid, I was keyed up, and hated to be 
hauled down under the sandbags. 

It must have been two hours before the "all clear" sounded and 
I could crawl back under my mosquito bar and take on the night's 
business again. An hour later came another alert and this time it 
brought no sense of adventure. I had seen an air raid and did not 
feel the need of another that night. As I staggered to the trench 
again, the thought came over me how much more devastating 
fatigue must be than danger to men* and women who have had to 
do this sort of thing months on end. 

The Army mail carried me into Port Moresby after breakfast. 
General MacArthur's timetable had worked and I was to bring 
over two Red Cross women at once and open our first service 
club on the island. But first, accommodations had to be found for 
it and that in a district overwhelmed by the military. Lieutenant 
General George C. Kenney, head of the Australian and American 
Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific, took me on his rounds. 

The only place not pre-empted was the huge grass hut, eighty 
feet long by thirty-two wide, handiwork of an army sergeant who 
had built it for a mess hall. He had tried to improve on native 
craftsmanship but, alas, the roof was not steep enough to shed the 
rain. His failure gave our club work its first foothold in New 

Now, the great advantage of a grass hut in the tropics is that 
it is one of the coolest forms of architecture ever devised. Its great 
disadvantage is that it cannot easily be screened. As a result, two 
schools of thought had developed on the island, dividing on the 
issue of bugs vs. heat. General Kenney was of the corrugated iron 
or tin roof school, but that day thatch and bugs won. The hut was 
all there was to be had and as much a refuge from the tropical 


sun as the Nepa shacks I had known in the Philippines in the 

Early the next morning, I flew back to Australia and four days 
before Christmas we had travel orders to return. The companions 
I had picked for this foray into a man's war were Leota Kelly, a 
beguiling executive, regional supervisor in the days of the WPA, 
and Helen Schoeni who for two years had directed our Henry 
Street Playhouse in New York. We set off with a special allow- 
ance of six hundred pounds of luggage between us. By great 
good luck we had procured the only purchasable amplifying sys- 
tem in northern Australia, but this engrossed much of our pre- 
cious quota of weight. Then there were musical instruments, 
games and magazines, songs, play scripts, Christmas decorations, 
and other things that seemed essential to get going. We knew only 
too well that what went with you, you had; what didn't, some 
day you might have. 

Our hopes that the plane might be traveling light were dashed 
at the airport where there was strict counting of pounds, and in 
choosing what to take, we envied Solomon's ingenuity with that 
baby. Some of the packages that we had to leave behind were to 
show up later, carried by soldiers or officers whose sympathy for 
our predicament had been enlisted. 

There were less than three days left after we landed, to get up 
our Christmas party. To help us we were assigned a soldier and, 
also, two natives with wonderful headdresses and very little else. 
A bright red sarong around the one named "SomewaLly" and the 
bright blue shorts sported by "Decanter" were in brilliant con- 
trast to their shiny dark skins. They were practically presented 
to us by the corporal who brought them, with "You do what the 
ladies say." Speaking loudly to make up for the difference in lan- 
guage, he added, "And wash much.' 7 They looked pleased, but 
speculative. We were a rarity and hoped they would consider it 
an honor to be with us rather than a step down from the mascu- 
line world. We need not have worried, for the next day when the 
silver tinsel was unpacked for Christmas decorations it was only a 
short while before our boys were adorned with it head and foot 
a bow round the ankle and much wound about the head primi- 
tive, yes, but their kind have counted courageously in military 
operations and in saving lives throughout the entire New Guinea 

Outfits for miles around soon turned out to help open up for 
the occasion. Miss Schoeni was busy "scaring up talent" for an 
impromptu show. Some gathered small palm trees and decorated 


them with tinsel. Others improvised much of our equipment- 
benches from boards and packing cases, even a ping-pong table. 
One missing package was our bundle of magazines, so we made 
a start with three New Yorkers from my personal belongings, 
spreading them out to look as much like a library as possible. A 
platform, electric lights, and a piano all came bumping up to our 
door or to the opening where a door would have been. These 
were soon in place with ease, good temper, and humor. At home, 
men usually look pretty grim about moving a piano, but in the 
army it is a matter for jokes and a good deal of good humored 
personal slander directed at each other as they push and pull 

Christmas night we were ready when our audience spread them- 
selves out on the hillside facing the platform we had placed in 
front of the club. Lights were strung so that a civilian orchestra 
brought over from the mainland could see their scores. Unfortu- 
nately the lights also lit up the orchestra perfectly for the mos- 
quitoes and its members played between angry slaps and scratches. 

To climax things, an alert sounded, that switch was turned off 
again, and we were in sudden darkness. The music stopped short- 
but almost as swiftly resumed. I climbed on the platform with a 
flashlight to find that our civilian talent had made for a slit trench 
and in their place was a wholly new band. Eager musicians from 
among the soldiers had scuttled down from the hillside and sprung 
to the instruments. Seemingly without losing a beat, there they 
were in the dark, carrying on as lively as you please. 

Next came a downpour of rain and it took the fear of spoiling 
the strings to stop our volunteers long enough for the piano to 
be heaved inside to the one dry spot in the exact center of the 
hut. Then we started up once more indoors and in the dark, until 
the all-clear sounded and lights went on to the tune of Christmas 

Availability of the canned EFM service at low rates offered the 
troops an opportunity to cable Christmas greetings to their families. 
But the men in the foxholes along the Buna front had neither cash 
nor the required EFM forms. Thereupon three American Red Cross 
representatives "Jungle Jim" Stewart, field director; Harry Poague, 
staff photographer; and George Moorad, director of public informa- 
tion service in the South and Southwest Pacific area toured the 
battle sectors offering to take the men's messages on credit. The 
three Red Cross girls did the same in the hospitals. In this way thou- 
sands of cabled greetings direct from the foxholes of New Guinea 
reached American homes on Christmas Day. 

And from the American Red Cross, representing the folks at home, 
there arrived at the front thousands of Christmas boxes containing 
cigarettes, dried fruit, chewing gum, candy, V-mail forms, and other 
items. Though Christmas that year came at a critical time when each 
ounce of plane space was precious, General MacArthur ordered first 
priority for tons of these Red Cross packaged gifts, and Lieutenant 
General Robert L. Eichelberger personally toured the front to over- 
see distribution by Red Cross representatives and native porters. 

George Moorad, who assisted in the distribution, made the fol- 
lowing report of the event: 

We took off from Port Moresby at dawn, our unarmed trans- 
port loaded with four tons of Red Cross packages, a medical 
officer and a lanky sergeant carrying maps and messages for divi- 
sional headquarters. Friends said the dawn flight was best too 
early for the Zeros and with a fair chance of piercing the blanket 
of clouds which almost perpetually swathes the range. 

Generally the transports circle to gain height. Our pilot took 
it on the run, his engines straining to 15,000 feet as we rushed 
tree-high over the matted jungle. We peered out at the razor 
ridges rising ahead and on each side, the vegetation so dense it 
resembled an endless plot of dark green cauliflower. The sergeant 
nudged me: "What a hell of a nice place to throw old razor 
blades," he said. 

In twenty anxious minutes we had cleared the range and were 
flying thousands of feet above another world a land of lush green 
sloping hills, broken here and there by grassy clearings, rimmed 
by the bright blue sea. The sergeant pointed to the left. "That's 
Buna," he said. "See the smoke? " Pretty soon we landed on what 
seemed a lonely field. We climbed out and shook hands all around. 

Strip No. i our landing field was one of dozens of grass plots 
burned off and tramped down overnight as General MacArthur 
launched his air-borne invasion. From the air it was a harmless 
desolate spot, but within a second after we landed, crews of sturdy 
Papuans were unloading the ship and a caravan of jeeps appeared 
from nowhere to carry off the cargo. Under the trees at one end 
of the field a crew of grimy, sweating Americans were assem- 
bling a steamroller which had been flown, piece by piece, more 
than 2,000 miles from southern Australia. There were half a dozen 
"cats" and scrapers and great piles of flexible steel mats which 
could be used for a semi-permanent runway. "You won't know 
this place in a month," one of the engineers told us* "We'll be 
clearing more ships than San Francisco Airport." 


We thumbed a jeep ride to divisional headquarters the fastest 
miles outside Indianapolis Speedway if you're riding with an Aus- 
sie driver, and the slowest miles in the world if you hike through 
the sweltering fields of kunai grass. The travel rule in Papua is 
"thumb or hike" for natives, officers and enlisted men alike. Only 
supplies and the wounded have priority. The commanding gen- 
eral was expected to, and did, share his muddy jeep with as many 
hitch hikers as could hang on* 

An affection for the peripatetic jeep reached remarkable 
heights in this lowland jungle country. The jeeps go everywhere, 
in any weather, whistling through fields of knife-like kzmai, 
through creeks hood-high, and even breast the black bogs using 
six rear wheels instead of two. They were used as caissons, as am- 
munition carriers, as staff cars and on Christmas Day they sup- 
plemented the legendary reindeer to carry Red Cross boxes and 
precious mail from home to troops in the front lines. 

To these boys in the jungle foxholesbearded and filthy the 
idea of Christmas must have seemed an ironic travesty. The air 
seemed filled with the rush of shells pounding on Japanese pill- 
boxes along the beach; there was the spasmodic nervous chatter 
of machine-gun fire. On clear nights Japanese bombers would 
sometimes come over five and six times. The days were feverishly 
hot, but somehow their morale was high. 

On direct orders from General MacArthur, Christmas packages 
were distributed to every man in the combat area, with priority 
for the front lines. Caravans of jeeps and hundreds of natives were 
diverted to the job by Colonel George DeGraff, who had also 
undertaken the herculean task of distributing the latest mail from 

The commanding general, Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichel- 
berger, who earned the respect of all ranks by going day after day 
into the hottest action, took it as a personal duty to spread the 
news that Christmas mail and packages had arrived. There were 
few men all along the treacherous jungle front who could say 
that they had not seen the general, if not spoken to him. 

I must admit I wondered how the men would react to the 
Christmas boxes. It is, after all, a comparatively small thing to be 
distributing Christmas gifts when men were dying in the slime . . . 
and I wondered how men under such conditions could care. But 
I found that to them it was still Christmas something that neither 
war nor suffering could erase. Almost like children under the Yule 
tree at home, they opened their boxes and exclaimed over the 
cigarettes, dried fruit, and the somewhat soggy candy. 


Chapter V 



and neighboring islands on August 7, 1942, American Red Cross 
Field Director David S. Oman, of Carrollton, Ohio, went ashore 
with his unit on Gavutu. In his official report of the invasion, Oman 
described what he saw and did during the first fateful days: 

Our unit entered Guadalcanal Harbor on the morning of Aug- 
ust 6. No opposition was met upon landing, and unloading opera- 
tions continued until 10 A.M. when General Quarters was sounded 
and we prepared for our first baptism of fire. This came from 
Japanese four-motored bombers in four waves of seven each. 
Every Japanese bomber was lost during this raid, with very slight 
damage to our fleet. At 1:45 P.M. General Quarters sounded 
again and about forty Zero fighters came in to bomb at low alti- 


tudes. Our own fighters Intercepted them, and the official count 
from this raid was thirty-eight Zero planes. 

We remained in Guadalcanal Harbor until 3 A.M. the next day 
when we were ordered to occupy the Tulagi group at 6:30 A.M. 
At 6 A.M. the Third Battalion aboard the U.S.S. President Adams 
was assigned to attack Gavutu, a very small island between Tulagi 
and Florida where the Japanese were reported in force. 

Landing operations commenced at 6:15 A.M. with all men and 
officers wearing green dungarees and steel helmets and carrying 
arms, some food rations, a rubber poncho and a heavy pack of 
ammunition. The only exceptions were the medical groups to 
which I was attached, and we were issued Red Cross armbands. 

I carried a first-aid kit especially prepared by the Red Cross 
organization connected with the Office of Civilian Defense in San 
Diego. This kit contained only battle dressings, burn ointment, 
smlfanilamide powder and morphine suretes. I also carried ashore 
100 packages of cigarettes which proved to be nearly as useful as 

During the actual landing at Gavutu we were caught in a cross 
fire of rifle and machine-gun bullets from Gavutu beach and from 
Japanese entrenched in pill boxes on the adjoining island of Tan- 
ambogo. A first-aid station was established in the only remaining 
building on the island. The balcony of this building was being 
utilized by our own machine-gun and sniper units. Half of the roof 
and one side of the house had been blown away, but it had a 
concrete floor and offered some protection from the rain, which 
had increased as the day wore on. 

During the day I kept busy giving morphine to "the wounded 
and preparing them for treatment by the doctors. Casualties in- 
creased at dusk when we attempted to secure Tanambogo, and it 
became necessary for me to act as a stretcher bearer. On my 
second trip out, my partner was killed as we crossed the causeway 
[connecting Gavutu with Tanambogo]. On the third trip my new 
partner was wounded, and upon returning to the first-aid station I 
was informed that eight corpsmen were casualties. 

Fighting continued that night, and the rain increased. Water 
had gotten six inches deep on the concrete floor and we used 
rocks and boards to elevate the stretchers. The cigarettes I had 
brought ashore were kept dry and we gave them out one at a 
time as the casualties were brought in. The next morning we 
moved the first-aid station to a safer location. 
4 On the fourth day fighting subsided and we had our first oppor- 
tunity to clear up the battlefield. . . . 


After the first few days, when the Marines were too busy fight- 
ing to consider any discomforts, they suffered most of all from 
the lack of comfort articles, cigarettes, soap, razors, and tooth- 
brushes. Having nothing of their own they made out for two 
weeks with captured Japanese supplies until the first ship arrived 
with the Regimental Command. This was on August 22. This 
ship brought thirty-two cases of Red Cross cigarettes, and enough 
comfort kits for each two men in the entire regiment to share one 
kit. These kits had been prepared in San Diego, Dayton, Pitts- 
burgh, Cincinnati and a number of towns in Indiana. . . . 

The Allied offensive against the Solomon Islands had followed 
American air reconnaissance showing the Japanese building a flying 
field on Guadalcanal. The runways were almost finished and sup- 
plies and equipment for a strong advance base were being shipped 
into the island. As soon as this base could be established a matter 
of weeks, according to Allied calculationsthe Japanese could launch 
an amphibious drive against New Hebrides and New Caledonia, 
island outposts guarding the approaches to New Zealand and the 
southeastern coast of Australia. 

The Marine troop landings of August 7, therefore, beat the Jap- 
anese to the punch. Within the first forty-eight hours the Marines 
captured all their objectives, including the nearly completed airfield^ 
immediately renamed Henderson Field. 

Thereafter, however, the battle for Guadalcanal went into many 
rounds in which the Marines repeatedly fought off violent attempts 
by the Japanese to drive them back into the sea. The first major 
engagement after D-day occurred on August 21 when 750 Japanese 
troops landed at night on Guadalcanal's northern shore and moved 
to* the banks of the Tenaru River in an attempt, apparently, to 
break through the Americans' defenses and recapture Henderson 
Field. With tanks and artillery the Marines virtually annihilated the 
enemy at a cost of twenty-eight dead and seventy-two wounded. 

Early in November the Japanese landed fifteen hundred troops 
east of the Americans' positions on Guadalcanal; half the number 
were killed, and the rest were driven into the jungles. 

In a series of naval and air battles, in which both sides lost heavily, 
United States warships and planes turned back a number of large- 
scale attempts at reinforcements; but Japanese landings of troops 
and supplies nevertheless continued to be made periodically through 
the fall. 

Heavy reinf orcemets of American troops and supplies, protected 
by surface ships and air cover, met minor opposition. In mid- 

October, units of the United States Army for the first time were 
fighting alongside the Marines. In December, the Marines who had 
established the beachhead on Guadalcanal and who had fought so 
long and so well to hold it, were withdrawn for a well-deserved rest 
In New Zealand and Australia, and Major General Alexander M. 
Patch, U.S. Army, succeeded Major General Alexander A. Vander- 
grlft to the Solomons command. 

On January 3, 1943, the Sixth Marine Division arrived at Guadal- 
canal to take'part in the final drive against the Japanese, Their land- 
ing, protected by destroyers and an air cover, was accomplished 
without Incident. Working to unload the ship speedily, hundreds 
of men jostled one another on the small dock. 

Standing out in this crowd of sweating, grimy, and swearing 
Marines was a khaki-clad giant Red Cross Director Thomas S. 
Montgomery, of Berkeley, California, assembling his eighty Red 
Cross crates scattered among the great piles of military stores. On 
the advice of Marine veterans from the Solomons whom he met in 
New Zealand, Montgomery had packed quantities of fishing tackle, 
musical instruments, radios; and sets of carpenter's, cobbler's, and 
barber's tools, along with the usual Red Cross comfort articles. Here 
is a partial list of the articles he brought: 4,000 books; 2,000 sew- 
ing kits; 2,500 cakes of soap; 1,000 cigars; 500 cans of snuff; 250 
packs of chewing tobacco; 600 tins of pipe tobacco; 2,500 tooth- 
brushes; 40,000 sheets of stationery; 15,000 envelopes; 1,000 decks 
of cards; 5,000 packs of gum; 500 pounds of candy; $1,000 worth 
of games; $700 worth of fishing tackle; $400 worth of athletic gear; 
$200 worth of musical instruments (harmonicas, banjos, ukuleles, 
etc*); three portable phonographs with $300 worth of records; two 
short wave radios, a sewing machine, a washing machine, and a 

Montgomery, whom the Marines and doughboys had nicknamed 
"Tiny" because of his unusual height, became an American Red 
Cross field director by a process of elimination. A graduate of Stan- 
ford University ('38) where he was a consistent point winner in 
intercollegiate shot-put, discus, and weight-lifting events, he had 
tried to enlist in the Marine Corp, Army, and Navy. None would 
accept him because his height 6 feet 8 l / 2 inches exceeded all mili- 
tary standards. As he was in perfect physical condition, the Red 
Cross sent him first to Quantico, Virginia, where he practiced in- 
vasion tactics with the Marines, then to Camp Pickett to learn Red 
Cross field technique, and finally on overseas duty. Upon arrival 
in New Zealand he requested transfer to the first outfit ordered to 


a combat zone. This is how he came to Guadalcanal with the Sixth 
Marine Division. 

He pitched his camp about half a mile from the beach, in a coco- 
nut grove midway between Henderson Field and a smaller fighter 
field. Allowed only one tent, he and Sergeant Joe McMurren, of 
San Diego, California, assigned to him, scrounged two other tents. 
One served as a storehouse and workshop, another as office and 
library, and the third as a recreation center. Outside his office tent 
hung this sign: "The American Red Cross is in this area to assist 
men of the United States forces in any way possible. Please do not 
hesitate to call." 

The workshop, with its wood-carving tools, two emery wheels, 
a brace and bit, tin shears, files, and hammers, proved a busy place. 
Here men off duty made souvenirs ash trays out of Japanese shells, 
and pistol grips, bracelets, rings, and other articles from the rem- 
nants of shot-down Zeros and Mitsubishis. 

Montgomery's short-wave set always drew a crowd, especially 
when programs from home were on the air. Propaganda broadcasts 
from Radio Tokyo added to the amusement. Once, however, a lanky 
corporal from North Carolina tried to kick the radio to pieces when 
a Japanese vocalist sang "Old Black Joe." 

The men would also huddle around a piano to sing their favorite 
tunes. This was the first piano on Guadalcanal. Montgomery 
chuckled when he told how he happened to bring it. The piano 
belonged to the Sixth Marines who used it in their camp at Welling- 
ton, New Zealand. They abandoned it as too bulky and an unneces- 
sary luxury when they broke camp to leave for Guadalcanal. 
Montgomery's sense of thrift could not bear to see it go to waste, 
and anyway he wanted it for the Red Cross club tent he was going 
to set up on the island. Without a word to anyone, he crated it 
and painted this legend on the outside of the box: "American Red 
Cross. Health and Comfort Supplies.'* And with the help of a sym- 
pathetic Marine sergeant and squad got it past the loading officer 
and aboard the ship. 

Montgomery's barber clippers "left most of my customers worse 
off than when I began," but the men preferred them to shaggy hair 
and beards. Bringing a cobbler's last, the only one on Guadalcanal, 
proved a real inspiration, as the island terrain was rough on shoe 

Now and then men showing the effects of excessive strain would 
be sent to Montgomery's workshop by their officers. "One boy was 
practically wild when he came to me," said Montgomery. "The 
night before he had been in the front lines when a shell killed Kis 


best friend. He helped me with my chores, distributed supplies, 
checked out books, fooled around with tools, and played the radio, 
and within two weeks he was back to normal." 

Without his athletic background and good physical condition, 
Montgomery might have experienced great difficulty keeping up 
with the youthful fighting men. With the help of Marine Corps and 
Army Special Service officers, a coconut grove was cleared for a 
Softball diamond. A building previously used as Japanese officers' 
quarters was turned into a basketball court, and a tournament went 
on between bombing raids. 

Swimming was a favorite sport, particularly with contingents re- 
turning from the front. Actually more than a sport, it was the 
easiest and most pleasant way of removing grime accumulated dur- 
ing days and nights spent in foxholes. Sharks offshore interfered 
with ocean bathing, but the Tenara and Lunga Rivers proved good 
swimmin' holes. 

Coconuts were plentiful; often soldiers and Marines were conked 
on the head by the falling fruit, particularly on windy days. Bananas 
and limes grew in a section controlled by the Japanese, and so were 
out of reach. 

The Guadalcanal natives, short, wiry, with big flat feet, worked 
along the beach, on the airfields, and around the Red Cross tents. 
Those who had attended missionary school at Cape Esperance, on 
the northwestern tip of the island, spoke good English. Friendly 
and hard-working, they got along well with the Yanks, saluting 
them at the least provocation. They acquired the habit of smoking 
corncob pipes, and would have given an eyetooth for a pipe. 

Montgomery made a rule to reach every American fighting man 
on Guadalcanal, no matter how remote his outpost. Three times a 
week he loaded his jeep to capacity with Red Cross supplies, and 
drove as far as it would go. Then, with a bulging knapsack across 
his broad shoulders, he would proceed to the front-line foxholes 
on foot, chanting, "Chewing gum, candy, popcorn, soda pop. 
What'll you have, boys?" "Porgy-bait," or candy, and chewing to- 
bacco were most in demand, the chewing tobacco because smoking 
in the dark might give away a position. If a man worried about his 
family, Montgomery took back a message and had the Australian 
headquarters of the American Red Cross cable to the soldier's home- 
town Red Cross chapter for an investigation. 

Front lines were difficult to determine in jungle warfare a tree- 
top sniper here, a lone foxhole gunner there, perhaps four or five 
men sharing a shell hole on the side of a ridge. On one occasion, 
Montgomery was following what he thought was a continuous line 

of American positions when he met a group of Marines walking 
through a coconut grove. He asked how close he was to the front 

They looked at him oddly and grinned. "Hell," .drawled one of 
them, "the front line's half a mile behind us. This is a patrol" 

The woods were full of Japanese snipers, which prevented his 
turning back. So he went along with the patrol, dodging bullets on 
the way. 

Once, in the dusk, this bearded young giant, while bouncing along 
in his overloaded jeep, found himself in the midst of a battle. Burst- 
ing bombs shook the ground under him, and the air was filled with 
the rumble and flashes of gunfire on the ground, in the air, and off- 
shore. Signs of machine guns and rifles hidden behind foliage and 
coconut trees were not necessary to convince him that he was a 
target for enemy bullets. Nor was he comforted by the gruesome 
sight of crumpled, lifeless bodies many yellow, some white strewn 
on the steaming sand. He kept bouncing along in his jeep, neverthe- 
less, until halted by a tall, slender, graying man who, like everyone 
else in the jungle, wore undistinguished khaki-green fatigues. From 
a distance he had seen the man receiving reports and giving orders. 
Now he was face to face with him. Two silver stars on the man's 
shoulders confirmed Montgomery in recognizing this was Major 
General Alexander M. Patch, the commanding officer of the Solo- 
mons campaign. 

General Patch reconnoitered first the jeep piled high with bulging 
packages and knapsacks, and then the bearded young giant who was 
its driver. "And what are you doing here, my friend?" 

"Oh, just taking some Red Cross stuff up to the boys," grinned 
Montgomery, as if this were the most appropriate thing for him to 
do at the moment. 

"Hmmm. That's good . . . very good. But you want to be care- 
ful ... you'd be a hard target to miss." 

Montgomery, though, led a charmed life. There was the time he 
was driving along the beach with a load of supplies and several pas- 
sengers when bullets started kicking up the sand all around them. 
Caught between the cross fire of two Japanese machine-gun nests, 
they couldn't see their assailants yet discerned a movement of leaves 
in the trees overhead. A patrol silenced the nests with grenades and 
rifles, but returned less one man. 

During one night air raid, Montgomery was crouching in his 
foxhole large enough to accommodate a jeep when "Washing 
Machine Charlie" droned away overhead dodging ack-ack fire. Sud- 
denly Tiny's booming voice was heard above the noise of the plane. 


"Hey, fellows," boomed Tiny to the Marines in their foxholes, "I've 
been waiting four months to get a letter and finally I got one from 
the States today. It 'was from the home office and you know what it 
said? 4 In order 9 to help us win the war those of us in the United 
States who are not actually fighting will have five per cent of their 
salaries deducted for the Victory Tax.' Now ain't that one hell of a 

Montgomery was within earshot of gunfire all the time he was 
on Guadalcanal, for that was the period of the final American drive 
to crush Japanese organized resistance on the island. Between Janu- 
ary 15 and February 9, when the battle was over, 6,066 Japanese 
were killed and 127 captured. 

On February 20, Montgomery returned with his Marine unit to 
New Zealand for a rest. Before leaving Guadalcanal he paid a visit 
to an ice house erected by the Japanese. To the Yanks it was known 
as "To jo's Ice Plant." On it someone had painted the satisfactory 
sign: "Under New Management." 

In a way, this sign symbolized Allied control of Guadalcanal. 
Veterans of the original landings would hardly recognize Guadal- 
canal today. Tenaru, Matanikau, Lunga Point the signposts are 
there, and on the slopes of Bloody Ridge barbed-wire entanglements 
of Japanese positions now rust in the undergrowth. From the sea 
the cloud-shrouded mountains have the same somber appearance 
they offered the Marines approaching on the morning of August 7, 
1942. And along the beach the palms still form an unbroken pattern 
from Koli Point to Cape Esperance. 

However, the endless coconut groves now shelter rows upon rows 
of tents and prefabricated huts. Where Marines once splashed ashore, 
today are busy warehouses, wharves, and supply dumps. On the 
island also are hospitals, Red Cross canteens and on-post clubs, and 
pretty Red Cross girls, who arrived April, 1944, serving hot coffee, 
sandwiches, doughnuts, and fruit juices to flight crews, ground 
crews, enlisted men and officers at Guadalcanal's air strips. At Hen- 
derson Field a Red Cross clubmobile is on constant duty. 

Guadalcanal has become a forward command post of American 
Red Cross activity throughout the Solomon Islands. In striking con- 
trast to the early days of Field Directors Oman and Montgomery, 
when Red Cross supplies and personnel were at a premium largely 
because of the lack of shipping space, today there are about one 
hundred Red Cross men and women workers on duty in the Solo- 
mons group. 

Chapter VI 



read: "Two good places to eat here and home." 

The soldiers believed that sign. To them their mess sergeant was 
the best in the whole Ninth Air Force. An Alabama boy, his name 
waswell, let's call him Bill. 

A mess sergeant grew in stature in the desert, where fighting men 
ate only when the supply truck caught up with their unit, and 
where water had to be hauled long distances from wells and water 
holes. A mess sergeant not only planned meals, but often, like Bill, 
cooked them himself. For him it was a daily battle with short rations, 
sand, and water shortages. When supplies were low he had to barter 
and scrounge make things appear from nowhere. 

Bill was adept at both games. In addition he used a profitable 
device of his own crap shooting. One of the best crap shooters in 
the Ninth Air Force, he was never more cheerful than when the 
bones rattled on the ground. When he needed an extra mess of flour 
to make pancakes for the boys, he generally won it from other mess 
sergeants in a crap game. Ajid the British Tommies paid dearly in 
Egyptian pounds, piasters, and Scotch whisky for the privilege of 
learning the game from this Yank master. 

With a resourceful mess sergeant like Bill, the boys of Com- 


pany had little to grumble about. The chow was always there, and 
sometimes the cooking even tasted like Mom's. 

There came a day, however, when Bill apparently lost interest 
in his job. The bones no longer rattled. He shunned fellowship 
and brooded hour after hour in his tent. The boys, shaking their 
heads sadly, said that Bill had gone "sand-happy" from seeing too 
many mirages. And when he disappeared from camp, they guessed 
he had wandered off in the desert after one of his Elusions. A day 
t or two later a searching party found him, a solitary figure among 
the barren dunes, dusty, thirsty, and hungry. There was no use 
sentencing him to the guardhouse for going A.W.OJL, as the 
desert itself was an endless guardhouse. So Bill was "busted" to a 
buck private and ordered to dig slit-trenches. 

Bill's punishment may have satisfied the ends of Army discipline, 
but it did not help company spirit. The boys set up a howl that 
reached the Colonel's ear. They missed his cooking. 

At length the Colonel approached American Red Cross Field Di- 
rector Orville E. "Bob" Roberts, of Greenbelt, Maryland. 

"Bob," he said, "I wish you would talk to Company's mess 
sergeant and see if there isn't something we can do to bring him 
back to himself." 

"Colonel," replied Roberts, "Bill is that stubborn that if I went to 
him and tried to talk to Him, I wouldn't get anywhere." 

"I know. What would you suggest?" 

"If he could be steered into my tent casually, maybe I could find 
out what's eating him." 

Through a ruse, then, Bill found himself in the Red Cross tent 
talking with Field Director Roberts, a ruddy-cheeked, heavy-set man 
with graying temples, who was old enough to be his father. A 
shrewd judge of human nature, Roberts had sensed that the Alabama 
boy had an early background not unlike his own. So he began by 
relating the highlights of his own career: He was born and raised 
on a Kentucky farm; while still a boy he ran away from home to 
work for a year as a cabin boy on an Ohio River steamboat; at 
eighteen he was a cook in a logger's camp in the Canadian woods; 
he played football first at Hiram College, Ohio, and later at West 
Virginia Wesleyan College; and during the First World War he 
saw active service in France. 

Slowly, haltingly, Bill revealed the few milestones of his career. 
"When I was so big," he said, "my mother died, and from then 
on my dad was both father and mother to me." 

His father had taught him hunting and fishing 

"And cooking?" 

"Damn right. My dad could cook food that a man could eat. I 
didn't learn cooking in this man's army. I learned from my dad." 

The boy suddenly grew bitter. He snarled. "My dad I loved him 
until he let me down. When your own father lets you down the 
way mine did well, how can a guy have faith in anybody or any- 
thing in this world?" 

"What makes you say a thing like that, Bill?" 

"He hasn't written me, has he? Five months, and not a damn Hue 
from him " 

As soon as the boy left the tent, Roberts sat down and wrote to 
Bill's home-town Red Cross chapter in Alabama. After giving the 
case history, he advised that a Home Service worker see the boy's 
father and urge him to write at once. 

Weeks went by. Bill continued digging slit-trenches, and his com- 
pany kept asking how soon he would return to the mess truck. 

Then one evening a beaming, excited Bill broke into Field Di- 
rector Roberts' tent shouting, "Look here, Bob, Fve got it at last 
a letter from Dad." 

In paraphrase, the letter opened as follows: 

"Dear Son: If you live through this war and come home, I'm 
going to lick hell out of you. Don't ever set one of them Red Cross 
gals on me again. I'm on a sheep ranch in Montana, a hundred 
miles from nowhere. This Red Cross gal came 175 miles to find me. 
She rode fifty. Her car broke down, and so she hitchhiked to within 
seven miles of this ranch, and walked the last seven. She sat me down 
on this rock, gave me a pencil and paper, and said, 'Now write, 
darn you, write!' And by the devil, I'm writing." 

The father went on to explain that having moved from Alabama, 
Bill's letters hadn't caught up with him. On the other hand, he 
couldn't write his son because he had lost his APO number. The 
letter concluded with a promise to write regularly in the future. 

The next morning, Roberts, letter in hand, approached the com- 
manding officer. "Colonel," he smiled, "how'd you like to have the 
old mess sergeant back?" 

"What do you think?" 

Roberts then showed him the letter. Within twenty-four hours 
Bill was wearing sergeant's chevrons again, and Company was 
happy. In fact, everybody was happy. 

"Thanks, Bob, for a fine morale job," said the Colonel. 

"Don't thank me, Colonel," replied Field Director Roberts. 
"Thank that little Red Cross girl in Montana. Thank the Home 
Service Corps of every Red Cross chapter in the United States, who 


are working for the armed forces and their families every day in 
the year." 

Field Director Roberts was in the desert to bring American Red 
Cross supplies and services to the United States Ninth Army Air 
Force, then assisting the British Eighth Army in driving the Axis 
out of North Africa. Axis global strategy had called for the joining 
of the European Axis partners with the Japanese in India. To achieve 
this strategic union a disastrous prospect for the Allies if consum- 
matedHitler and Mussolini first had to win control of the Suez 
Canal, crucial waterway leading into the Indian Ocean. With the 
Suez Canal in their hands, they could pursue other ambitions, such 
as the conquest of the Middle East and Africa. The Germans could 
seize the oil wells of Iraq and Iran and march eastward on the over- 
land route to India, while the Italians could follow up their Ethiopian 
conquest with further aggressions in East Africa. 

Barring the way to the Suez Canal was a desert stretching from 
the Nile River to the Tunisian border a distance of approximately 
fifteen hundred miles embracing Egypt and Libya. This Western 
Desert was a wedge separating the European Axis partners from the 
Japanese, and a land bridge linking Russia with the supply lines 
from Great Britain and the United States. It was for the mastery 
of this sandy wilderness, then, with its prize, the Suez Canal, that the 
great desert drama was played from 1940 to 1943* 

With the collapse of France in June, 1940, the whole North 
African coastland from the Atlantic to the Egyptian border passed 
into the hands of Mussolini and Hitler. In September, 1940, Musso- 
lini made his first challenge of British power in Egypt by throwing 
a large army in command of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani into the 
desert. The Italians quickly overran about fifty miles of Egyptian 
territory as an outnumbered British force fell back to the Mersa 
Matruh railhead. But instead of fighting through to take full ad- 
vantage of his offensive, Marshal Graziani rested at Sidi Barrani. 

This pause gave the British their hoped-for opportunity to build 
up their strength. On December 9, 1940, General Wavell struck a 
powerful blow, surprising and overwhelming the Italians, who reeled 
back in disorder. In two months a large number of prisoners and 
enormous booty were yielded by the invaders. It was during this 
campaign that die British first took Tobruk. General Wavell chased 
the Italians as far as the salt marshes of El Agheila, on the Gulf of 
Sidra between Benghazi and Tripoli, and paused for fresh troops 
and supplies. 

To check the British advance, with its threat to the Axis domina- 

tlon of the Mediterranean, Hitler, amid great secrecy, sent his motor- 
ized Afrika Korps into North Africa. Commanded by General 
Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox," this crack army, specially trained 
and equipped for desert warfare, in March, 1941, smashed through 
General WavelTs defenses. A depleted British army was sent hurtling 
back to Egypt, and the Afrika Korps reached Halfaya Pass inside 
the Egyptian border. Tobrak, however, remained in British hands. 

About the same time, the Germans, who had taken over Rumania 
and Bulgaria through underground agents disguised as "tourists," 
now blitzkrieged through Yugoslavia and Greece to extricate the 
hapless Italians. The British had depleted their desert army to rein- 
force the heroic Greek defenders, but the former's inadequate, ill- 
equipped divisions the most that could be spared at that critical 
time were no match for the Nazi hordes clanking across the moun- 
tains and echoing through the valleys. Greece and Crete fell. 

Thus, in May, 1941, the Suez Canal was menaced by Rommel's 
Afrika Korps on the west, and by the Luftwaffe from newly seized 
Mediterranean bases along the Balkan shores on the north. 

Hitler's diversionary Balkan campaign delayed his invasion of 
Russia, giving the Russians additional time to prepare their defenses. 
Its effect on the desert campaign was that reinforcements and sup- 
plies which might have gone to Rommel were diverted to the 
Russian front. 

Before resuming his march to Suez, Rommel tried to reduce 
Tobruk, mighty desert citadel, to prevent the garrison's breaking 
out of its perimeter and attacking from the rear. 

For seven long months, amid incredible hardships and privations, 
the courageous Tobruk garrison withstood the might and fury of 
the enemy. By their heroic stand they saved Egypt and the Suez 
Canal that year and won immortal glory for themselves. 

In November, 1941, the British launched their second desert offen- 
sive, this time under General Claude Auchinleck. Reinforced by 
tanks and planes rushed from England and the United States, they 
chased the Desert Fox back as far as El Agheila. There they halted 
on January 8, 1942. 

Two weeks later Rommel, greatly strengthened by reinforcements 
and newly arrived fuel and materiel, broke out of his lair, pushing 
the British back to a defense line running south from the coast at El 
Gazala near Tobruk. Their defensive tactics, however, proved costly 
and almost led to complete disaster. Rommel resumed the initiative 
on May 26 and pierced the British defensive system at El Gazala. 
On June 12-13 he trapped 300 British- and Ainerican-niade tanks 
near Tobruk and smashed 230 of them. Tobruk fell quickly, and the 


British infantry, and what remained of their tank forces, fled to the 
last strong defensive position before Alexandria, at El Alamein. 

One fact stood out crystal clear from the surges, now eastward, 
now westward, of the Axis and British armies across the desert: 
neither side could muster the necessary punch for a knockout. Each 
failure was due to overextended supply lines. Supply, the ability to 
get there with enough stuff on time, was the key to success in mod- 
ern mechanized warfare. This was even more true in the desert, 
which, except for occasional oases, "was without any resources of 
its own. ^Everything required by ^. mobile mechanized army had to 
be brought in from the ouside. With only a angle two-lane motor 
highway along the coast, and only camel caravan trails and native 
tracks in the interior, transportation was extremely difficult. 

In this respect the Axis enjoyed a distinct advantage over the 
Allies. Troops, fuel, and materiel, mostly originating in Germany 
and transported by rail, were shipped across the narrow Sicilian 
straits to Tripoli, principal Axis supply base in North Africa. Each 
time Rommel retreated, he shortened his supply lines, thereby gath- 
ering strength and power for stiffened resistance. Conversely, Allied 
shipping was bombed and torpedoed from one end of the Mediter- 
ranean to the other. Supplies from Great Britain and lend-lease goods 
from the United States took the long water route of more than ten 
thousand miles around the Cape of Good Hope and up the Red 
Sea, or were flown from the United States and ferried across cen- 
tral Africa by way of Brazil. 

Therefore, to win final, decisive victory in the desert, it became 
necessary for the Allies to wrest mastery of the Mediterranean from 
Germany and Italy, 

The mission of the United States Ninth Army Air Forc^the nu- 
cleus of which was activated on June 28, 1942, as the Middle East 
Air Force, fitted into this picture. During the four months preceding 
the decisive El Alamein battle this unit was developed as a keen, 
swift-striking force rather than as a ponderous, crushing power. 
While British submarines stalked the enemy in the Mediterranean, 
American planes attacked his docks, ports, and shipping. They were 
credited with stopping at least twenty per cent, and eventually fifty 
per cent, of enemy shipping bound for North Africa, 

It was in the Battle of El Alamein and in the pursuit of Rommel 
that the Ninth Air Force scored its most spectacular successes. The 
El Alamein line, consisting of a chain of pillboxes reinforced by 
mines, barbed-wire entanglements, and trenches, ran from the coast 
to the salt marshes known as the Qattara Depression, a natural anti- 
tank barrier. This bottleneck, only forty miles wide, kept Rommel at 

arm's length, so to speak. While he rested his troops and received 
reinforcements and supplies, the British were fast building up their 
strength for the third and final offensive. Planes were flown across 
Africa from the United States by the AAF Ferry Command, while 
ships carried men and materiel jeeps, trucks, artillery, self -propelled 
antitank guns, and the superb monster Sherman tanks with their 
75's in revolving turrets to Egyptian ports. 

When he had achieved his surprise concentration of troops and 
materiel, welded together into a mighty force of steel and men, 
General Bernard L. Montgomery launched his offensive with a ter- 
rific artillery barrage. There followed eleven days of the bloodiest 
kind of hand-to-hand fighting in which Anzacs, Indians, and British 
Tommies engaged the crack German troops. At the first sign of 
enemy armor concentrations, which might have indicated a counter- 
attack, American planes smashed the formations. In the first fourteen 
days of the offensive these American planes made 1,366 sorties, ac- 
cording to official records. On November 4 the Axis lines crumbled. 
Rommel's vaunted Afrika Korps turned its back on Suez for good 
and fled headlong across the hot desert sands. Montgomery's Eighth 
Army pressed irresistibly on, toppling one stronghold after another, 
in its race to overtake the enemy. 

The Ninth Air Force, which formally absorbed the Middle East 
Air Force on November 12, kepfup a steady and relentless pressure 
on the retreating Axis columns. When the Germans dug in for a 
stand at El Agheila, where the two previous British drives had been 
turned back, the Ninth Air Force hit troop concentrations and 
motor transports, contributing to the destruction which forced Rom- 
mel to resume his flight to Tripoli. 

The Ninth's troop carrier command kept open the long lines of 
Allied supply. As soon as the enemy evacuated an airfield, troop 
carrier planes arrived with gasoline, ammunition, and other priority 
supplies needed in battle. This speedy service enabled the fighter 
and bomber groups to stay on top of the German retreat. Troop 
carrier planes also evacuated the wounded from the front and flew 
them to hospitals in the rear. The service command also shared in 
the Ninth's accomplishments by keeping the planes in the air* 

As the drive toward Tripoli continued, the Ninth Air Force 
bombed the enemy's airports, harbors, communication lines, motor 
transports, and troop concentrations. 

And on this historic drive across the desert, from El Alamein to 
Cap Bon, the American Red Cross was at the side of the Ninth Air 


Actually, Red Cross operations in the Middle East began on 
August 1 6, 1942, when four field directors arrived with the Ninth's 
ground crews at Port Tewfik, Egypt. These pioneers, all World 
War I veterans, were: John M. King, Clinton, Mississippi; Paul 
Ross, Binghamton, New York; Orville E, Roberts, Greenbelt, Mary- 
land; and Ray L. Goodridge, Rochester, New York. 

Later they were joined by other Red Cross workers, men and 
women, most of whom came on convoys the long way around the 
Cape of Good Hope, as the Mediterranean was still unsafe for Allied 
merchant shipping. By June, 1943, there were 173 of them. 

American Red Cross operations were dictated by geography, cli- 
mate and military strategy. Under Director Ralph Bain, Bentonville, 
Arkansas, the star! of Red Cross workers acclimated itself to face 
the unique conditions thrust upon American armed forces in the 
Middle East. Since the Ninth Air Force was on a mobile basis, Red 
Cross field directors stationed with them were, of necessity, equally 
mobile. They had to be ready to make convoys across the Western 
Desert, past the ruins of Sidi Barrani, Halfaya Pass, Tobruk, Ben- 
ghazi, Tripoli, and other bases to the very portals of Tunis, where 
they joined Red Cross men stationed in Tunis. They advanced in 
convoy as their units advanced, and frequently made long, tedious 
trips in Red Cross trucks over bombed roads and tracks to Cairo, 
where they assembled athletic equipment and other recreational sup- 
plies for the men at the front. 

For the youths of the Ninth Air Force the desert was a strange 
experience. Day after day they saw nothing but blue sky and endless 
miles of sand glistening in the sunlight. The force often was dis- 
persed and tents were scattered. They were lonely. Their daily 
diet consisted of British tinned "bully beef," biscuits, and marmalade. 
The daily water ration was only one quart per man for all purposes. 
They breathed sand, ate it, and slept with it. 

One moment the undulating sand lay smooth and still; the next 
moment, whipped by a wind, it whirled as if aroused by the wrath 
of God. Near Tripoli on February 10, 1943, the Ninth's 5yth 
Fighter Group was scourged by a khamsin, Arab term for sand- 
storms that blow continuously for days. This one lasted seven days. 
American Red Cross Field Director Ray L. Goodridge, who was 
there at the time, described the scene as follows: 

For the entire seven days we were marooned. All planes were 
grounded. Military operations and Red Cross services were at a 
standstill. No reports went out to Ninth headquarters in Cairo, 
and none came in. There was no incoming or outgoing mail of any 


kind. The whirling, blinding dust stung as if each particle of sand 
were a pin point. The murk was so thick you couldn't see more 
than a few feet ahead of you. Out in the open we couldn't stand 
it for more than a few minutes, so we kept to our tents. At night 
we could hardly sleep for the steady pounding on the tent canvas 
and the violent shaking of the tent pole. When we got up in the 
morning we considered ourselves lucky if we had a roof over 
our heads. Many tents were carried away during the night, never 
to be found. Though my tent was closed, I awoke one morning 
to find myself buried under sand that somehow had found its way 
inside and had piled up over my cot. Only rny head was showing. 
We couldn't breathe the stuff, and being without respirators, we 
wore gas masks twenty-four hours of the day. During the seven 
days we didn't have any solid food, only soups and other liquids. 

Mirages were not uncommon on the Western Desert. It was when 
the Yanks saw too many of these illusory appearances that they were 
likely to become victims of what was called "sand-happiness." When 
this state of mind was combined with homesickness, loneliness, battle 
tensions, and personal worries, the effect upon a man could be 

While they were available for traditional welfare services, Red 
Cross field directors concentrated on the greatest need recreation. 
This is what Field Director Goodridge did while attached to the 
Ninth's famous 5yth Fighter Group. He joined this unit in the stag- 
ing area preceding the Battle of El Alamein, and remained until the 
end of the Ninth's desert mission in August, 1943. The most forward 
and most mobile echelon of the whole Ninth Air Force, the 5yth 
Fighter Group moved close behind the tank and infantry divisions. 
For obvious reasons, its squadrons often were dispersed fifteen to 
twenty miles apart. Driving a one-and-a-half-ton Ford truck, Good- 
ridge alternated between airfields, spending a day on each. He would 
meet fighter crews returning from missions and serve them hot 
coffee and cookies. In his truck he carried an Army chaplain's tent, 
capable of enclosing three hundred men and officers, which he used 
for the showing of i6-mm. motion pictures provided by Special 

At each airfield two EPI (Egypt-Palestine-India model) tents 
were joined to make a fair-sized recreation tent. For atmosphere, the 
boys filled the inside canvas with thek favorite pin-up girls. Good- 
ridge provided chairs, tables, benches, checkers and chess, phono- 
graphs and records, books and magazines, which enabled the boys 
to snatch a few minutes of fun. As an added service he got out a 


mimeographed newspaper, Sco-Coc-Fen News* It was full of desert 
gossip and little features, including cartoons, with pilots acting as 
roving reporters. As Brigadier General Auby C. Strickland, the 
57th Group's commanding officer, pointed out in one of its editorials, 
the paper "was actually published while you were in battle and 
under fire." 

Of his experiences with the 57th Fighter Group, Field Director 
Goodridge recalled: 

Considerable travel was necessary in order to put up a program 
of service while the group traveled forward. From the time I 
joined the unit until I left, I spent 127% hours in travel by air, 
and drove 43,00 miles on the ground. 

Frequent interruptions by Jerry, who seemed to take particular 
delight in retaliating on this group of fighters, made the life more 
exciting for all of us. Naturally, we came in for our share of 
shelling, bombing and strafing. 

An interesting feature of the whole thing to me was that at one 
time during the push up the coast we discovered that the Red 
Cross representative was the oldest man in the Group [age, 52], 
and the CO., Colonel Arthur G. Salisbury, was just half his age. 

Living with the 57th Fighter Group was everything that a Red 
Cross man looks forward to in the way of excitement, service 
and comradeship with the military. There was never any time to 
think of personal needs. You were too busy. Every moment was 
full of trying to perform the service you were there to do, a 
service very hard to perform under mobile conditions. No matter 
how much you did, it was never enough. 

A less hurried and more comprehensive program of recreation was 
carried out among the Ninth's rear echelons the bomber and service 
groups. Working in close co-operation with Major Leroy C. Hinch- 
clifFe, the Ninth Air Force Special Services officer, and with the 
Special Services officer in each group, Red Cross Field Director Or- 
ville E. Roberts, whom everybody called "Bob," was one of the 
busiest men on the Western Desert during the big push. Flying, or 
driving a truck or jeep, he seemed to be all over the place at once 
despite his fifty-one years. His fertile mind worked constantly add- 
ing to the recreational program, improvising new methods of enter- 

When in full flower, the American Red Cross Army recrea- 
tion program met the needs, and appealed to the taste and interest, 
of every man in the force. The Ninth's circulating library of 8,500 

volumes was carried up the desert in gun boxes, the books being 
loaned on cards as in any public library. Each group developed its 
own orchestra from musical instruments scrounged in Cairo and 
Alexandria. One piano, transported on a truck, covered fifteen thou- 
sand miles traveling back and forth on the desert; this was the same 
piano used by Jack Benny and his party when they entertained at a 
Red Cross club which Roberts had set up in an oasis outside Tripoli. 
And there were minstrel sho^s. 

In the handicraft clubs, discarded munition boxes were used for 
wood carving, and goatskins picked tip in Cairo were turned into 
wallets and cigarette holders- There were also drawing and painting 
clubs, photography clubs, short-story sessions, discussion groups, 
and even a poetry-writing club. To keep in good standing in the 
latter club, GFs had to submit one acceptable poem a week, manu- 
scripts being judged by a colonel, a noncom, and a private. The 
three best poems were nailed on the bulletin board. In die Ninth 
Air Force, no flower blushed unseen nor wasted "Its sweetness on 
the desert air." The poetry club saw to that! 

Competitive Softball, baseball, table tennis, and badminton kagues 
flourished on the desert. So did track tournaments and horseshoe 

But to Field Director Bob Roberts, himself a former college foot- 
ball star and coach, the source of greatest pride was his "Wog Foot- 
ball Association." This was a football league made up of six teams 
of rear echelon airmen, nearly every one of whom had once played 
college football. The schedule, interrupted only by sandstorms and 
operational demands, was maintained across more than a thousand 
miles of desert. 

The opening game was played on a landing field near El Abmein 
in November, 1942. With Roberts and Special Service officers acting 
as referees, subsequent games took place on fields behind the lines 
after spectators had cleared the ground of loose sand. Intercollegiate 
rules were observed, except that tackling was barred. This was 
"touch" football to save the players for the more exacting duties 
against the Axis. 

In the passing weeks a keen competitive spirit developed among 
players and fans. And the Sand Bowl classic between the two win- 
ning teams was the most discussed event on the desert, next to the 
war itself. Played on a field between Benghazi and Tripoli in Feb- 
ruary, 1943, the game drew more than 2,500 enlisted men and 
officers. When, in keeping with football tradition, soldier-fans car- 
ried away the goal posts, they found them eighteen inches shorter 
than at the beginning of the schedule; the bottoms had been broken 


off in successive sandstorms. A silver loving cup for the team and a 
carton of American cigarettes for each player on the squad were 
the championship prizes. 

At the close of the desert football season Field Director Roberts 
lay awake nights thinking of new ways of maintaining the Ninth's 
spirit. One day he conceived the idea of hunting gazelles in Army 
jeeps. Chasing those delicate, swift desert creatures with a sandy 
coloration would appeal to the sporting instincts of fliers and ground 
crews, he believed. When he proposed the idea to Colonel Paul A. 
Cunyus, commanding officer of the 31 5th Service Group, the latter 
said that before giving his official approval he would have to investi- 
gate himself. At the Colonel's request, Roberts made the arrange- 
ments for the hunt, which proved so successful that, subsequently, 
gazelle hunts became a popular sporting event on the desert. 

In a flush of enthusiasm Field Director Roberts wrote the fol- 
lowing report to National Headquarters, American Red Cross, in 

In a recent letter I mentioned that I was going to take a group 
of officers on a gazelle hunt in a jeep on the Western Desert. 
Well, I've just returned from that hunt bruised, tired to death, but 
happy. It was a complete success so much so, that I must tell you 
about it. 

The party was made tip of Colonel Paul A. Cunyus, command- 
ing officer of the 31 5th Service Group, Ninth Army Air Force, 
and nine other officers of the command, together with our native 
guide, Roberto Pare Entis, and myself. The night before the 
hunt we stayed at a hotel in Jefron located on a sheer cliff between 
two rugged mountain ranges. 

We left the hotel at 4:20 A.M. in three jeeps and trailers, four 
men to a jeep. In my jeep were Captain Terhune, Lieutenant 
Frizee, the driver, and Lieutenant Meek. Our spirits were mighty 
high, I'll tell you, as we took off on that winding road to the 
south for the thirty-mile jaunt to the gazelle happy-hunting 

The desert was rolling, with valleys of a quarter to half a mile 
between mountain ridges. Vegetation, mostly dry and sun- 
scorched, was almost knee-deep in some of the valleys. Our guide 
led us to the highest point where we could see for miles around. 
Here we unhooked our trailers. The sun, rose-tipped and misty 
blue-black in the far distance, was just taking a look-see over the 
eastern mountains. To keep warm we beat and rubbed our hands 
together and flapped our arms. 


We laid our windshields flat over the hoods of the jeeps to give 
us a shooting clearance all around, made sure our rifles and .45'$ 
were loaded to capacity, set our safeties, and set out with the 
guide's jeep leading, the Colonel's next, and my jeep in the rear. 

The leading jeep had scarcely crossed the valley between the 
point where we had left the trailers and the next ridge when we 
saw fifteen to twenty gazelles hitting the high spots toward the 
ridge beyond, and we let out a yell that echoed through the 
valley. We deployed and soon were hurtling over that rough 
desert abreast at forty miles an hour. Near the crest of the ridge, 
the herd split, some gazelles taking to the right and some to the 
left. My jeep was on the left flank and we raced after those nearest 
to us. Unsuccessful after shooting at eight or ten of them from 
about 300 yards, we decided to pick out the largest one and give 
him a chase. Almost as soon as we had decided that a certain ram 
gazelle was to be our meat, he scampered off by himself. Never 
before did I know that a living thing could travel so fast on land! 

Where there are ridges, there is erosion. Where there is erosion, 
there are ditches, and at their bases in the valley, deep sandy and 
rocky deposits. Now I know that to be a fact. The jeep also 
knew and told us so. The ram gazelle didn't seem to know it 
or maybe he did, and took his own way of letting us know It, too. 

Anyway, we found out. I was In the rear seat, right. As we 
crossed the first ditch I wasn't; neither was Captain Terhurte. We 
were on the spare tire fighting like thunder to get back to our 
seat. Then we hit deep sand and I was on Lieutenant Meek's back, 
and he was where the windshield should have been, but luckily 
wasn't. Then we hit a fairly smooth stretch of about a half mile 
of desert valley. We drew up to within seventy-five yards of the 
fleet-footed gazelle. Meek's, Terhune's and my rifles were shooting 
like machine guns with the St. Vitus dance. Lieutenant Frizee was 
driving with one hand and pecking away with his .45 in the other 
hand. Then the flying critter took for the ridge, and we went 
after him, yelling like Comanche Indians. That gray poetry in 
motion was moving diagonally down toward the next valley when, 
we crossed the ridge. The lieutenant stepped on it and hit another 
ditch about the four-hundredth. 

As we neared the valley, the ram gave a long leap over a ditch 
ten feet deep and wide enough for two jeeps to be buried in at 
once. My soul took flight on the back of the critter ahead. But 
Lieutenant Frizee can drive in my chase anytime! Our jeep 
tumbled stones and sand into that chasm, but we headed up along 

9 1 

k for some distance on two wheels, or one or none, for all I know, 
and succeeded in spanning it at its narrowest point. But this 
maneuver made us lose our gazelle, now five to six hundred yards 
ahead of us. I honestly think some men would have quit, but 
not we. 

Finally, we got his range and one of our 45's shot him, breaking 
his neck. He was running so fast that after falling he rolled fifteen 
yards in the sand before coming to a dead stop. 

We leaped out of the jeep, and, like men at the end of a vital 
football game, we yelled, slapped each other on the back, took 
turns lifting each other off our feet, and hugged one another. I 
had never seen excitement run so high. 

"Quel Grand Specimen/' 7 the- guide said of the gazelle, as we 
tied him to the front of the jeep and drove back to our trailers. 

After the chase I know that my heart and liver are all right. 
My health is all right. I'm tough me, and that glorious jeep. 
Brother, can those things take it! 

The Ninth Air Force continued to participate in Allied operations 
to the end of Axis resistance in North Africa. Lieutenant General 
Lewis H. Breareton, the Ninth's commanding officer, officially com- 
mended Red Cross Field Directors Ray L. Goodridge, Orville E. 
Roberts, and John M. King for their work on the desert. To the 
three men General Brereton wrote; 

I would like to commend you officially for the outstanding and 
meritorious service which you have so consistently rendered as 

Red Cross field representatives With Air Force groups from 

the Battle of El Alamein to the expulsion of the enemy from Af- 
rica your duties were performed with an initiative and co-opera- 
tiveness that has been invaluable in maintaining high -morale and 
operational efficiency. Living in the desert at advanced stations 
directly behind the front lines of the advancing army forces, 
despite jjreat personal hardship and danger, you have rendered 
outstanding service to our armed forces in the furtherance of our 
war effort. 

It was a red-letter day on the Western Desert when the first two 
American Red Cross girls arrived to open a club. Seeing them for 
the first time, a sergeant, emerging from his plane, said, U I think FU 
go on the wagon; first it's spots, now it's girls in front of my eyes." 
A tingle of excitement passed through the collective spine of the 
Ninth Air Force when the news spread And the two girls them- 

selves were thrilled at the prospect of dispensing American Red 
Cross hospitality in this remote corner of the world. 

It was no picnic, however, transforming a bomb-shattered villa in 
an oasis into a club fit for an American desert warrior, as one of the 
girls, Miss Margaret Cotter, of Washington, D.C, soon learned: 

We are the first American Red Cross club workers in the desert. 
After six weeks of the hubbub of Cairo, two of us girls were sent 
here, along with a director and an assistant director, to establish 
a club for our soldiers who have been in the blue so long they 
have forgotten what it is like to have a roof over their heads. 

We had little more than a roof to start with in the building 
which was to be our club. A one-time magnificent villa, it looked 
sadly shattered and torn at our first glance. Remains of the wall 
which surrounded the garden lay in pieces along the roadside. 
The building is typical Italian colonial style, a low rambling affair, 
tinted in a pale pink color. 

The flooring throughout is of tile. The staircase is of white 
marble supported by a wrought-iroa banister. 

The building was a desolate sight when we arrived. Inches of 
dirt covered the floor, and the ceilings were completely hidden 
by cobwebs. The doors and windows had been bombed off. There 
was no electricity, no water, not a stick of furniture. 

Our club director, William Katzenbach, New Canaan, Connec- 
ticut, suggested we stay at the hospital until our place was in 
shape to house ladies, but we wouldn't hear of it. We wanted to 
"get in on the ground floor," so we waded through the filth, 
chose a room, set up our Army cots and made ourselves at home. 
We had our first experience that night with sand fleas, flies, mos- 
quitoes, etc., and woke up completely covered with bites. 

For a week we did nothing but scrub, dust, paint, whitewash, 
and generally get the place into some semblance of order. Then 
we furnished it in our best "beg, borrow or steal,' 7 method. And, 
finally, when we had hung a sign which read, "American Red 
Cross Club Open Soon," on that one piece of wall left standing 
at our entrance, we were tired, proud and happy. 

I think we must have put that; sign up too soon however. The 
very next day while I was on my hands and knees, still scrubbing, 
I heard a car approaching. We had company! And there was I in 
my GI pants, an old shirt, and my hair piled up on top of my 

My co-worker, Madge Sijiith, Metropolis, Illinois, had fortu- 
nately changed into her uniform, so she did the "receiving." I 


figured it was probably a couple of soldiers or maybe a lieutenant 
or two. Then suddenly I heard voices and footsteps approaching. 
As I looked up, expecting to see Johnny Doughboy, who should 
be standing there but Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton, the 
commanding officer of the whole Ninth Air Force! And with 
him were Brigadier General U. G. Ent, Colonel Louis Hobbs, 
General Brereton's Aide, and countless Majors and Lieutenants! 

Speaking of embarrassing moments, I could have gone through 
the floor, scrub brush and all. 

Our callers, however, were very gracious. No one batted an 
eyelash as I rose from my hands and knees, literally dripping soap 
and water, and went to greet them. 

We took them all over the building, showing off our recrea- 
tion room, grill room, and lounge. We strolled through the gar- 
den and the large pavilion where we intend to hold dances. We 
even showed them the dog pen which Sergeant Paul Wilman had 
built for our mascot, a seven weeks' old dachshund puppy given 
me as a farewell present when I left Cairo. 

Before we made our good-byes to the generals I had recovered 
completely from my confusion and requested General Brereton's 
autograph. I received the following: "To Margaret Cotter with 
kindest personal regards, and thanks for her good work." 

I guess he must have thought I did a good job on the floor. 

The club opened on schedule, and General Ent cut the ribbon. 
More than 2,500 Yanks, eager for the sight of American girls, and 
hungry for good old American doughnuts, cake, sandwiches, candy, 
coffee, and lemonade, overran the premises. All took part in the 
dance under a tropical moon and swaying palm trees. Popular Amer- 
ican dance tunes were played by the th Bomber Group orchestra. 
There were only fifteen girls presentsix American Red Cross staff 
assistants and six from the USO camp show then playing in the 
vicinity, and the remainder from British headquarters. Fifteen girls 
dancing with 2,500 men! 

To say that we were rushed off our feet would be a gross under- 
statement [said Margaret Cotter]. We were mobbed. We danced 
until we could hardly stand up. Naturally, no girl could get 
farther than a few steps without being "cut in on." Most of the 
boys told us they had not danced with an American girl for a year 
or more. 

To reach fliers and ground crews whose airfields were too far 
from the club, a mobile club service was inaugurated. Using a jeep 


with trailer attached, called a "jeepmobile," four staff assistants and 
the assistant club director, William Kormann, of Pittsfield, Massa- 
chusetts, left early in the morning with cups and saucers, dough- 
nuts, coffee, cream and sugar. To returning missions they served 
doughnuts and coffee just as they emerged from their planes. They 
would stay all day, and sometimes far into the night until the last 
returning plane had glided into the runway and taxied into position. 
The pioneer jeepmobile girls were: Misses Cotter and Smith, already 
mentioned; Beth Helas, Cleveland, Ohio, and Mary Mills Hatch, San 
Francisco, California. Later the jeepmobile was succeeded by the 
clubmobile used by the American Red Cross in every war theater. 

In addition to the desert clubs, the American Red Cross operated 
a chain of leave-area clubs throughout the Middle East for service- 
men on leave. The largest and most popular, formerly the Grand 
Hotel, was the Red Cross-Army club in Cairo. The club's bed 
capacity was about three hundred, but cots in the halls and lounges 
took care of late arrivals from the desert. Clean white sheets, hot 
showers, wholesome, appetizing food cooked American style, movies, 
dances, sightseeing tours everything dreamed of in the desert was 
within reach at the Cairo club. There were even lectures on Egyp- 
tian culture, as reported in the Red Cross Courier: 

At first it was an experiment. With some misgivings Program 
Director George Grenholm of Marquette, Michigan, set about 
to supply the academic touch, mindful perhaps of the soporific 
effect of classroom lectures in college days. 

When the scholarly professor with the iron gray hair, a goatee 
and a dignified manner began his opening remarks, the Red Cross 
staff held its collective breath. 

"Gentlemen," he said, "we will consider the history of the First 
Dynasty and its influences upon the development of Egypt to 
the time of Rameses //." 

The Red Cross staff breathed easier. There was no concerted 
rush for the door. No one looked bored. On the contrary this 
audience of young Americans, matured now beyond their years, 
listened attentively and shifted about to make room for late 
comers who wanted to hear, too. 

Fortified with this intellectual brush-up, the neat construction, 
jobs of the Pyramids and the Sphinx took on added meaning. ' 

Yes, the GI's were curious about Egypt and Palestine. They were 
eager to see the sacred shrines they had first heard about in Sunday 
school. For them the American Red Cross conducted a compre- 


hensive tour program all over the Middle East. Most tours were 
free to soldiers, and when a charge was made to cover transporta- 
tion, guides, and admittance fees to ancient sites, it was below cost. 
Red Cr<jss staff assistants acted as hostesses on all tours. 

From the Cairo club there were tours to the old city with its 
mosques, the citadel, and bazaars, and to ancient Memphis and 
Sakkara. Every Monday, soldiers were taken by motor launch up 
the Nile to the Delta Barrage. On Tuesday nights there was a moon- 
light cruise on the Nile; Red Cross staff assistants and local girls 
invited by the club accompanied the soldiers. The most popular of 
all the tours from the Cairo club was the one to the Pyramids and 
the Sphinx. The boys liked to have their pictures taken riding a 
camel with the Pyramids and Sphinx in the background. Invariably 
they exclaimed with surprise that the Pyramids weren't a bit like 
what they had imagined. One iconoclast said, "They should have 
gotten Kaiser over here. He'd have done a much better job." 

On the Alexandria tour, the Yanks observed the water front and 
Ras-el-Tin Palace, the bombed areas, Pompey's Pillar, the ancient 
Catacombs, the downtown section with its Nebi Daniel Mosque, 
the Stadium, large modern hospitals, the residential section, the 
Nouzha Gardens, and the Zoo. 

Perhaps the most interesting of all the tours were those conducted 
by the American Red Cross club in Tel Aviv. After miles of barren 
desert, the soldier-tourists came to green country, tired villages in 
die hills which were old when Christ was born>, ancient Roman 
ruins; walled cities known to the Crusaders, with the sea still wash- 
ing against their battlements; fields of daisies, Orange groves and 
olive orchards, herds of goats with goatherds looking jtist like Bible 
illustrations, and those nomadic Arabs, the Bedouins, with their black 
tents and crouching camels. And not many Yanks were prepared for 
Tel Aviv, a completely Jewish community, as modern and attrac- 
tive as any progressive city in Florida or California, built in the 
midst of this Biblical setting. The boys were taken through the city 
with its wide, clean streets, and showed the shopping center, the 
factory section, the modern school buildings, and the Hebrew 
Theater. They went to ancient Jaffa, adjoining Tel Aviv, where 
they observed the native Arab markets and bazaars and many sites 
having Biblical associations. 

From the Tel Aviv club each day, American soldiers left on one-, 
two-, or three-day tours through the Holy Land. The one-day tour 
took them to Jerusalem and Bethlehem; the two-day tour to Jeru- 
salem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Jericho, the river Jordan, and 
Trans jordania; and the three-day tour embraced all these and, in 

addition, Haifa, Capernaum, Tiberias, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, 
and a visit to one of the Jewish co-operative settlements. 

The boys got their first sight of the ancient city of Jerusalem 
from the heights of the Hebrew University. Across the plains they 
saw the Dead Sea, lowest body of water in the world. Later they 
went swimming there, and found that because of the salt content 
they could not dive below the surface. Passing the Well of the Magi 
and the Tomb of Rachel in the Fields, they came to Bethlehem, 
where they saw the birthplace of Christ and the Church of the 

The Garden of Gethsemane, full of flowers and noble old trees, 
left the Americans awe-struck. Here stood the Church of Nations 
also known as the Church of Agony built on the rock where Christ 
prayed and was betrayed. The church was built by the faithful of 
fourteen nations whose emblems are emblazoned on the ceiling. 

The next morning the American soldiers crossed the Allenby 
Bridge spanning the Jordan on their way to view the ruins of 

On one of these tours Assistant Field Director James E. Ravich, 
former Hartford, Connecticut, lawyer, was sitting in the bus next 
to a private who was born in Oklahoma and had spent all his life 
on a farm. While extremely interested in everything he saw, the 
boy kept talking on one subject over and over again. "There's just 
one thing this tour needs to make it perfecta glass of milk," he 
said. "Boy, I'd give anything for a glass of milk. I haven't had one 
for a year and a half/' 

The tour stopped at one of the many modem co-operative agri- 
cultural colonies settled by European Jews throughout Palestine. 
This one happened to be populated by Rumanian and Czech Jews. 
When the Oklahoma boy saw the farm, his eyes lit up. 

"This is right down my alley!" he exclaimed. He made the rounds 
of the farm, examined the farm machinery, rode on a tractor, and 
milked the cows. "Why, these people are doing the same thing my 
ancestors did. Out in Oklahoma they made farm land out of waste- 
land too." 

When he saw the vineyards and the orange groves he was almost 
speechless with delight. But the best was yet to come. After the 
soldiers had gone all through the farm, they were ushered into the 
community dining hall, where they were given tall glasses of ice- 
cold milk milk that had been pasteurized by modern methods. 

When the boy saw that glass of milk he winked at Ravich, and 
down went the milk in one gulp. After drinking three more glasses 
he sat back in complete happiness. 


"This trip has been swell," he murmured, "but that first glass of 
milk in eighteen months is something I'll never forget!" 

An interesting commentary on these American Red Cross tours 
was reported by Turner Catledge, Ne-w York Times correspondent, 
in a dispatch from Alexandria, Egypt, January 30, 1944. He wire- 

A young flying officer in a mess tent in the desert near Tripoli 
was describing his trip to the Holy Land. In his own Texas idiom 
some of which was not too biblical, he told the story of the 
Nativity in terms of what he had seen on one of the Red Cross 
tours. He eifided with a flourish: 

"And when that outfit comes around for dough next time, 
they're gonna get some from me." 

"Who?" someone asked. 

"The American Red Cross, the best blank blank outfit over- 
seas," he said. 

Red Cross clubs also offered an informal service which received little 
publicity; the opportunity for soldiers to get things off their chests. 
When they came off the desert on leave they liked to talk, and Red 
Cross staff assistants, carefully selected and trained young "women, 
proved sympathetic listeners. What did they talk about? In the 
following account, Miss Katherine Blake, New York City, a former 
Vogue editor, reveals the secret: 

Most of the soldiers we saw were Air Corps menbombardiers 
and combat crews down on leave from "The Blue," or passing 
through to unknown destinations from thousands of miles away. 
They were the boys who had been pounding the Axis in the 
Sicilian and Italian raids, in the giant Ban and Ploesti missions. 

They'd pile out of their planes, hot and tired and dusty. Most 
of them hadn't had a bath for months. They hadn't slept in a 
real bed for many, many weeks. Sand was ground into their eyes 
and hair and skin. 

Some soldiers would stagger in loaded down with their guns 
and heavy equipment, passing through on long convoy treks that 
had brought them through many countries. The [Red Cross] 
club lobby was always packed with service men in a great, shout- 
ing, pressing mass. 

They'd talk to you by the hour of what they'd done and seen. 
And they'd pull out finger-worn snapshots to show you hundreds 
of pictures of wives and mothers and sweethearts and babies. 

They'd describe their homes to you down to the last detail. 
They'd ask you eagerly if you knew their home town. They'd 
grin happily telling you the exact place on the wall a certain 
picture hung, what the sitting room looked like, in just what 
corner the green armchair stood* They wanted it all to stay exactly 
that way until they came back to it. It was the only real security 
or feeling of permanence they had. 

For a long time the mail came through very slowly. A four 
months' old Life would be grabbed immediatelyit seemed new. 
We'd all share our letters from home. The men would pass them 
round among each other and read and re-read little details about 
life back in America, until the much-fingered pages were falling 
apart. A clipping, an advertisement from a shop you knew, even 
a familiar postmark on an envelope could make your heart give a 
funny little jump. 

It wasn't that you were homesick. You were too busy, your 
days were too full, for that. It was just that you liked thinking 
of things being the same back home, and unchanged in aH the 
strangeness and impermanence about you. 

We tried to make the clubs as much like home as possible- 
places to which the men could come for comfort and relaxation 
and fun. Places in which they could find real beds and baths and 
dances and games and people from home to talk to and answer 
their questions. 

They'd ask thousands of questionswhere could they buy a 
puppy, what places in town had the best band, when the bus left 
for the desert, what would be a good present for a new baby, 
whom could they talk to about a loan. 

They all had a curious detachment, which seemed a little strange 
at first until you found you'd learned it yourself, a matter-of-fact 
acceptance of things as they are. 

I remember one of the boys describing the Jerrys he'd seen 
sitting straight and charred in a tank, burned to death. He'd got- 
ten some good photos. I think I gasped a little, and he smiled 
at me. 

"Hell, honey," he said. "That's the way it is. It isn't sad or bad 
or funny it just is." 

The combat crews had the same point of view. After sweating 
out long tense hours on a mission, they'd tell you what swell 
jazz they'd got on their radio coining home. 

They all want someone to talk to. They don't talk to you as 
an individual, really. You know them as little as they know you. 
Many of them you will probably never see again. But the need 


for companionship is very strong in war-torn days the contact 
with someone from home. 

There was the boy who had a hunch he was going to die. He 
just didn't feel right about things any more. It didn't bother him, 
dying. "Hell," he said, "I've had a good life. I've had a lot more 
fan than a lot of guys I know in the last twenty-five years-" 

But he was worried about his dog. That bothered him. He 
pulled out some snapshots of her taken in front of a little white 
clapboard house with a tree and a bit of grass> somewhere in Con- 
necticut. His face lit up talking about her. "That pooch hasn't 
been the same since I left," he said with reluctant pride. "Gee, 
but Fd like to see her again!" 

He was killed by ack-ack two weeks kter. 

Then there was the pilot who was killed a few months ago. 
He'd always said he'd never be taken prisoner and he wasn't 
boasting. His plane got lost behind enemy lines, and his gasoline 
tan out. He landed the plane and fired it. He and his crew waited 
for the Germans to come up. And as the Germans came, he 
blasted away at them with a forty-five. They took the other men 
prisoners. They buried him there in the sand where he died, and 
they Wrote on his cross, "A brave American transport pilot is 
buried here." 

Coming down to the Red Cross club on leave after a tough 
mission, they'll slip right back into the boys they used to be at 
home. "Is there a steak for dinner tonight? Oh, boy! Will you 
get me a! girl fot the dance? Put us all in the same room, can 
you? We'fe all on the same crew." 

They stick together, these crews, bound by a tie stronger than 
any family tie could ever be. They've lived and fought together, 
faced dying together on every mission. And, on leave, they re- 
fused to be separated. 

A boy from one of these crews hobbled into the club on 
crutches one day. When he was last down, his crew had been 
with him. Now he'd come in from the hospital. They were send- 
ing him home. 

" Where are the others, Bill?" we asked him. It always seemed 
strange not to see a crew together. 

"They're all gone," he said simply. "We got shot up with ack- 
ack over Naples and everyone was killed in the plane except 
Dan and Joe and me." 

Dan, he said, had taken over the plane although he was shot 
in the head and stomach. Joe had been hit in the arm and head. 
He, himself, had a leg wound and his thumb had been blown off. 


"Funny," he said, "I looked down and it wasn't there. Never 
felt a thing." 

One of their engines had been shot up and they'd had to drop 
out of formation. Somehow they got across the Mediterranean 
and made a crash landing in the desert. 

They'd crawled out of the plane. None of them could walk. 
They'd decided to try and make their base, figuring it wasn't far, 

"We'd crawl a little way and then stop and then crawl some 
more," Bill said. At night it was very cold they'd burrow into 
the sand. 

The second day Dan was dead when they started off. The other 
two crawled on alone. 

"I guess it was about five that afternoon," Bill continued slowly. 
"Joe said he couldn't go any farther. I lay down beside him and 
he asked me to get his mother's picture out of his pocket. He lay 
looking at it and talking about her for about an hour before he 
died. He asked me to look her up if I ever made it out alive." 

After that, Bill crawled on alone* 

"I didn't have any water left," he said. "Funny, it was so hot I 
couldn't think very straight any more. I'd keep seeing the Squad- 
ron all lined up and the boys were passing buckets of water back 
and forth, back and f oith. After that I was unconscious I guess. 
The British picked me up two days later and I ended up down 

"It seems funny going home." 

He didn't want to go home. He wanted to keep on flyingl 

You heard so many stories like that. And when you heard them 
you felt that nothing you could do would ever, ever be enough* 

As in other theaters, the Red Cross interest went beyond the wel- 
fare of the able-bodied troops. In hospitals throughout the Middle 
East, Red Cross workers saw to it that the wounded and sick re- 
ceived the little additional attention they would get at homethose 
extra little things that helped a fighting man to quick recovery. 

The first American Red Cross hospital recreation and medical 
social workers to arrive in the Middle East were the following Penn- 
sylvanians: Emile McKenna, Landsdown; Elizabeth Tanner, Abing- 
ton; Edna Tarr, Pittsburgh; and Florence Keck, Reading. 

One incident will illustrate the type of work performed by Red 
Cross hospital workers in this theater: 

A boy who had been shot up with ack-ack on a mission was sent 
down to a general hospital outside Cairo. He was so badly injured 


that for a long time he wasn't told that he would be blind per- 

When he was told, he took it hard. He was only twenty-one, and 
had been strong and active an athlete all his life. 

In this hospital, doctors and nurses did not have much time to 
give a patient extra attention there was so much for them to do. 
One of the Red Cross girls filled the gap. Daily she visited the boy, 
sat and talked to him, explaining the sounds and smells, and describ- 
ing the ward and the people whose voices he heard. 

She brought him a radio set. She wrote his letters to his wife and 
read her letters to him. He didn't want his wife to know he would 
not see again. 

The Red Cross girl did everything she could do to help him 
adjust himself to his blindness. And it was difficult because he was 
bitter-and afraid. She explained how the Red Cross would help 
him when he got home, how Red Cross people could teach him 
braille and how to use his hands. 

The boy grew to depend very much on that Red Cross girl. The 
first time 'he was able to shave himself alone he waited impatiently 
for her to come so that he could tell her about it 

And one day, weeks later, on one of her regular visits^ to his room, 
she asked him' what he needed, what she could bring him. 

"Matches," he said. 

"But I brought you matches only yesterday," she smiled. "What 
do you do with them eat them?" 

"Hell, no," replied the boy. "People come in to see me and go off 
with my matches.'* 

He laughed, "Things have come to a new low when people will 
steal from a blind man!" 

And because he was able to laugh, the girl knew that at length 
he had adjusted himself to his blindness. 

Soon after Tripoli had been occupied by the British Eighth Army, 
four truckloads of American Red Cross relief supplies for Tripoli- 
tania's civilian population arrived in the city from Cairo. The inci- 
dent was described in the Red Cross Courier by Robert E. Lewis, 
then Red Cross public information director in the Middle East: * 

The shawled women stood in groups about the truck with the 
American Red Cross sign on its sides. They eyed with passive 
apprehension the two Americans who stepped out of the cab, and 
stayed a respectful distance from them. 

* Mr, Lewis was killed in an airplane crash while in duty at Port Moresby, 

New Gtiines,, November 24 1943- 


One crept nearer, peered at the small chevrons carrying the 
wbrds, "United States" the men wore on their shoulders. She 
smiled, talked eagerly to the women, and her smiles spread rapidly 
through the group. 

Then the interpreter spoke. The track contained milk sent to 
the women and children of Tripoli by the American people 
through the American Red Cross. The milk was there, he said, 
and more would come to strengthen the bodies of their children 
and invalids. 

The smiles gave way to cheers, and the American Red Cross 
program of emergency relief for the thousands of Jews, Arabs and 
Italian refugees of Tripolitania commenced at once. 

It was the first civilian relief given to the citizens of the occu- 
pied territory of Libya following the advance of General Mont- 
gomery's victorious British Eighth Army across the desert from 
El Alamein to the border of Tunisia. It demonstrated better than 
words and phrases the meaning of the ideals of the United Nations. 

Requested by the British authorities, the supplies, including 
1 15,000 pints of milk and other emergency rations, were brought 
to the city by the Red Cross in an army convoy over the 1,500 
miles long supply route from Cairo to Tripoli. 

They were administered under the direction of Ralph Bain, 
Red Cross director of operations in the Middle East, and con- 
veyed to Tripoli by Charles E. Bailey, Red Cross director of 
civilian relief. 

The Red Cross was on the job in Tripoli itself almost as soon 
as the retreating gunners of RommeFs forces had blasted at the 
British advancing forces at the approaches of the city, and it en- 
abled the spirit of America to advance with the troops of the 
United Nations. 

Over roads shelled and mined, the Red Cross convoy followed 
the fighting army to bring mercy to a population which had 
suffered the ravages of warfare and which received the evidences 
of American humanitarianlsm with a gratefulness verging upon 

Everywhere we went, we were cheered by the Italians as well 
as the other elements of the population. Many of them wanted to 
know how they could send messages to friends and relatives in 
the United States. 

It was among the Arabs that the Red Cross supplies were 
needed the most. According to the Red Cross survey of food 
needs in the occupied territory, made in almost every section of 


the inhabited coastal regions of the land, many Arabs are eating 
locusts and grass to survive,, 

In many communities the flocks and livestock of the com- 
munities have been depleted by as much as 90 per cent. The Red 
Cross emergency supplies are being distributed through these 

British authorities expect near famine conditions in parts of 
Libya before the crops are harvested in April. But due to com- 
petent administration of the conquered territory, many of the 
Italian colonial farmers who abandoned their farms when they 
heard of the retreat of the Axis forces, are returning to their acres 
to save the crops they had planted before the retreat of Rommel's 
deseift fighters. 

In most cases the returning Italian farmers are accepting the 
occupation with good grace,^ verging in some cases upon enthu- 

The work of distributing the emergency relief supplies through- 
out Tripolitania was undertaken by a committee established under 
the cooperation of the British occupying authorities and the 
American Red Cross. It contained representatives of the British, 
Arabs, Jews and Italians. 

The fact that the British and Americans were determined to 
stave off starvation among the civilians qf the occupied territory 
has done much to restore the confidence of the population in the 
new government. 

The remnants of Rommel's battered forces took refuge behind 
the Mareth Line in Tunisia, merging themselves with Axis troops 
recently arrived from the continent. There the Ninth Air Force 
joined the successful Allied effort to smash the line. 

The Ninth remained in the desert several months beyond the 
final collapse of the German and Italian armies in North Africa. 
On August i it carried out a spectacular mfssion against the Ploesti 
oil fields in Rumania, and on the fourteenth, bombed Wiener 
Neustadt, Austria. 

Late in October, 1943, on the completion of its desert assignment, 
the Ninth moved its headquarters from Cairo to England. 


Chapter Vll 





.rakech, mellow oasis city in French Morocco! 

Within its palm-fringed boundaries converged camel caravans 
from distant points in the desert, even, as caravans had done for 
centuries. And at its doorstep was, a transatlantic airline terminal 
where President Roosevelt alighted on his way to the historic 
Casablanca Conference. 

In the medinctj or native quarter, the bazaar, steaming with a hun- 
dred and one strange smells, showed a cool disdain of the war raging 
about it. Trade went on with the same haggling, raucous shouts 
and oriental gesticulations. Jostling one another in the crowded, 
narrow lanes were swarthy Berbers from the mountains in striped 
robes, silver daggers caught in their girdles; artisans from the desert 
tribes astride basket-laden mules; bearded sheiks, jugglers, snake 
charmers, dancers, armorers, leather workers, raconteurs, and mu- 
sicians playing delicate folk tunes redolent of the desert. Here and 
there in front of a little shop squatted an old Arab imperturbably 
drawing tobacco smoke from his narghile. 

This was Marrakech's native quarter, and not far from it, hidden 
among palm trees, with sacred white ibis flying overhead, gleamed 
the pink walls of a princely palace now turned into an Axnerican 
Red Cross club for American soldiers. Its terrace swarmed with 


Yanks dancing to the hot strains of a jazz recording from the 
United States. 

One "Native Night" program at the club was really something to 
write home about. The local pasha had loaned the costumes of his 
dancing girlsthough prudently not the hip-wiggling girls them- 
selvesto enhance the oriental flavor of the stunt. 

Anne Haughwout, Williamsburg, Virginia; Jean Ingram, Chicago, 
Illinois; and Almena Pashby, Fort Collins, Coloradothe three Red 
Cross club workers who had planned the party were sticklers for 
authenticity. Farmers from Iowa, radio operators from Chicago, 
shoe salesmen from the Bronx, and coal miners from Pennsylvania 
all the GFs who attended had to take their shoes off at the door 
and sit cross-legged like natives in the vaulted marble salon which 
the girls had temporarily transformed into a harem atmosphere. 
And as the GI's blinked their eyes in amazed delight, native male 
dancers, tumblers, and fire eaters (the lights were turned out for 
this act) went through their routines. 

Such was the fabulous American Red Cross club in Marrakech 
a place where snake charmers and fire-eaters in the salon and camel 
races in the courtyard were some of the props ingenious Red Cross 
girls dished up for club entertainment. 

It was during the North African campaign that the Red Cross 
girl first caught the eyes, and typewriters, of American war cor- 
respondents. The latter cabled paeans of praise about her her charm, 
good sportsmanship, ingenuity, endurance, courage under fire, and 
above all, her tonic effect on the doughboys. Quentin Reynolds 
wrote that the Red Cross girl was one of the three greatest dis- 
coveries of World War II, the other two being Ernie Pyle and the 

One afternoon two clubmobile girls were driving by a lonely 
antiaircraft gun post when they observed three Yanks a sergeant, 
a corporal, and a private napping. 

"Hi, there, how'd you like some doughnuts and coffee?" called 
one of the girls. 

The poor GI dogfaces woke up startled. They had heard many 
tales about the African sun and the weird images it created in the 
desert. Was this, then, a mirage? The sergeant pinched the corporal, 
the corporal pinched the private, and the private pinched the ser- 
geant. No, they agreed, the two pretty images before them were 
really Red Cross girls. 

"Gee," commented the private, "I didn't know foxholes were so 
close to heaven." 

American soldiers in North Africa were so surprised at seeing 
1 06 

Red Cross girls, and so hungry for the sound of the home twang, 
that they would stop them on the street just to hear them talk. "Say, 
lady, are you really an American girl?" they would ask. 

In Red Cross clubs the commonest expression was, "Gee, she talks 
American." A close second: "Say something, lady; anything at all 
just so long as you go on talking American." And a third: "What 
part of the States do you come from?" 

Early in their career, Red Cross girls learned to take raillery from 
the men with dignity and good humor. Their first experience came 
in the Army posts at home when they were on their practice assign- 
ments. The mess hall invariably was some distance from the Red 
Cross office. On the way they would ride to the accompaniment 
of rising whistles from appreciative soldiers. "Hey, Red Cross! 
Hiya, babe!" were stock greetings. When a novice felt embarrassed, 
an older Red Cross woman might say to her, "You know, honey, 
you'd think you were slipping if they didn't whistle." 

Aboard troop transports taking them to their overseas stations 
they would distribute Red Cross ditty bags; filled by volunteer 
women in Red Cross chapters, these were Santa Claus, birthday 
present, Easter gift, and May basket all tied up in one small khaki- 
colored bag. Article after article came tumbling out a pencil, writ- 
ing paper, housewife (sewing kit), detective story, gum, cigarettes, 
playing cards, shaving cream, toothbrush about twenty different 
items. As the girls went through the mob giving out these ditty- 
bags, they heard remarks like these: "Say, girls, are you going to 
be around when we get there?" "Does Red Cross do things like this 
all the time?" "Are you going along with us? n and "Say, fellows, 
this isn't going to be such a bad war, after all." 

By the time they landed on the other side, the girls had acquired 
a technique for handling bantering questions. The soldiers, even the 
toughest, enforced an unwritten rule that frowned upon discourte- 
ous remarks to Red Cross girls. On those rare occasions when a man 
forgot himself, the girls themselves handled him gingerly before 
throwing him to the wrath of his comrades. 

Red Cross girls were selected not only for character, educational 
background, and experience, but also for their ability to improvise 
and adapt themselves to primitive conditions. Their ingenuity won 
the admiration of all the military from the highest general to the 
humblest GI. One day General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Su- 
preme Allied Commander of the Mediterranean Theater, was in- 
specting American Red Cross clubs in Algiers. At the club for 
Allied servicewomen he observed the shower and dressing-room fa- 
cilities available to enlisted girls of the British, French, and American 


Armies. His keen eyes had caught the club's improvisations, and, 
tongue in cheek, he asked, "Do you have any difficulty getting 

Katherine Schelbe, of Detroit, Michigan, the club director, smiled. 
a Yes T sir. We can't produce hot showers and run the kitchen stove 
at the same time, so we juggle the schedule." 

Red Cross girls performed a great variety of tasks, only a few of 
which were in the book. They planned recreation programs in clubs 
and hospitals, and danced and sang themselves. They would change 
tires on a clubmobfle or get up at dawn to fry doughnuts. At any 
moment they might be called upon to do a neat piece of mending 
on a soldier's blouse, or do a fancy stitching job in chevrons. They 
bowled, played ping-pong and darts. They could discuss baseball, 
football, and basketball and pitch horseshoes. They were good con- 
versationalists, and even better listeners, and they wrote interesting 
letter for hospital patients. 

In countless little ways, soldiers tried to show their appreciation. 
One thoughtful mess sergeant who had been a fancy pastry cook in 
civilian life would bring a lemon meringue pie or chocolate cake 
every time he visited the Red Cross club in Constantine. Soldiers 
driving into town from the airfields could not resist the Arabs sell- 
ing "eggas" along the road. They "would arrivb at a club with eggs 
carried precariously in their pockets. The Red Cross girls cooked 
the eggs for the men or accepted them as a flattering tribute. Coun- 
try boys would buy fresh green vegetables from roadside Arab 
vendors and bring them to the club. Often a girl found herself 
carrying home a snow-white cauliflower, an armful of fresh arti- 
chokes, or even a bttnch of leeks to cook over her gas plate at her 
billet. And flowers in North Africa were so profuse and so irresisti- 
ble to a soldier with his pockets full of money that many a Red 
Cross club looked like a star's dressing room. 

Sometimes there were unexpected experiences such as the one 
that came to Rita Hume, of Seattle, Washington, a Red Cross staff 

One of my greatest thrills was to be present at a broadcast by 
General Eisenhower to the States on the eve of the [ 1943 ] Red 
Cross War Fund drive. 

General Eisenhower was as dynamic as I had pictured him. He 
entered the small broadcasting room with two aides, Major Lee 
of Texas and Lieutenant Commander Harry Butcher of Washing- 
ton, D.C., who were the only others present besides the radio 
announcers and myself. 


After a stirring appeal in which he stressed the tremendous need 
for the continuance of the Red Cross program, the General 
turned to me and said: 

"This is the occasion of my second broadcast since the start of 
the war, and my first from North Africa. The Red Cross has a 
great program. We've got to keep It going." 

And I nearly popped every one of the buttons on my trim gray 

The North African campaign represented one-half of a gigantic 
Allied nutcracker crushing the Axis armies. General Montgomery's 
British Eighth Army was the other half. 

Early Sunday morning, November 8, 1942 the day Mersa Matruh 
in Egypt fell to the advancing British columns American and Brit- 
ish troops landed on several beaches on North Africa's Atlantic and 
Mediterranean coasts, principally at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. 
This formidable invasion force had been carried across the Atlantic 
in the mightiest convoy in history: about 500 troop transports and 
cargo vessels escorted by 350 warships of the United States and 
Royal Navies. There were three task forces. One, from the United 
States, got tinder way about the same time as the skirl of Scottish 
bagpipes signaled the launching of General Montgomery's great 
offensive at El Alamein. The other two left British bases twenty-four 
hours later. All ships arrived at their designated positions on time 
except one, which limped in behind schedule because it had been 
torpedoed. Of the ground forces landed, sixty per cent were Ameri- 
can, forty per cent British, but in the air the proportion between 
the USAAF and the RAF was half and half. 

French token resistance ended at Admiral Darlan's order thirty- 
six hours after the initial landings. Whereupon the British First 
Army, together with a small American mobile unit and French 
troops under General Giraud, raced into Tunisia in an attempt to 
capture Tunis and Bizerte and cut off Rommel's retreat to the sea. 
Heavy rains which turned roads and advance airfields into quag- 
mires, and difficult problems of supply, robbed the Allies of a quick 
decision over German and Italian forces being supplied by air and 
sea from near-by Italian bases. 

Before the end of the year, the Allies had stabilized the Tunisian 
front in the north and continued to spar with the enemy farther 
south. The final drive to liberate North Africa was postponed until 
early in spring. The intervening months were put to good use. 
Reinforcements and materiel were rushed in from the United States 
and England for the big push that would open the way for the 


invasion of Sicily and Italy, and at the same time remove for all time 
the threat of a union between the Germans and the Japanese in 
India through seizure by the former of the Suez Canal. 

The American Red Cross was in the North African cam- 
paign from the beginning, when eighteen field directors arrived 
from England in the wake of the first landings. On the beachheads 
they assisted Army chaplains and the Medical Corps. Later they 
accompanied their units on the long and tedious motor convoys 
from French Morocco and Algeria into positions along the Tunisian 
front. En route there was little they could do for the soldiers except 
during stops, when they hooked up their radio sets and invited them 
to listen in, or promoted informal soccer and touch football games. 
In the early hectic days at the front they concentrated on visits to 
evacuation tent hospitals, where they distributed Red Cross com- 
fort articles. Their reward was an appreciative grin now and then 
from a patient who would exclaim, "Say, boy, this is on the beam!" 

Though harassed by tremendous supply and transportation diffi- 
culties, the whole program of the American Red Cross developed 
with the ever-growing needs of the United States armed forces. 
Many ships bringing in reinforcements carried some Red Cross per- 
sonnel aboard field, club, and program directors, hospital workers, 
recreation workers, staff assistants and secretaries. By June 30, 1942 
(prior to the invasion of Sicily), there were 627 Red Cross men and 
women on duty in North Africa. 

Ships bearing materiel for the American troops generally reserved 
space for Red Cross supplies and equipment. Early in the invasion 
one shipment, unloaded at several Allied ports, contained hundreds 
of cases of phonograph records, radio sets, reading matter, and com- 
fort articles. Typical of the supplies which the Red Cross rushed to 
the forward areas as fast as transportation permitted were one mil- 
lion razor blades and two million packages of cigarettes. 

The American Red Cross service network spread over the length 
and breadth of French North Africa and was directed by William 
E. Stevenson, of Stamford, Connecticut, and New York, American 
Red Cross delegate to North Africa. From clubs in base cities it 
fanned out to cover rear and forward hospitals, scores of recreation 
rooms at advanced airfields and docks, and, by clubmobile, to serve 
the. remotest outposts. No American fighting man, however isolated 
his post, was overlooked. 

The field service was divided into three great areas, one centering 
at Casablanca, another at Oran, and the third at Algiers. From Algiers 
eastward to the Tunisian border a mobile program was adapted to 

the demands of a fluid front where lines and troop areas shifted 
constantly. The Algiers area was subdivided into supply bases center- 
ing at Constantine, Souk-Ahras, and Tebessa. From these bases, 
supplies went out to numerous day centers, evacuation hospital 
units, and club operations fanning out in all directions as close to 
the actual fighting as the Army permitted. Regional headquarters 
were at Constantine. Field supervisor there was George "Red" 
Munson, of Cincinnati, Ohio, former catcher for the St. Louis 

One of the Red Cross field directors' teams at the front were: 
Allen W. Finclte, Tenafly, New Jersey; Herbert Siflford, Greens- 
burg, Pennsylvania; and James Snyder, Reading, Pennsylvania. 
Working out of Tebessa, they drove their clubmobiles all over the 
American positions. They ate where they could, leaped into the 
nearest slit trench upon the approach of enemy planes, and at night 
they spread their bedrolls on the ground and got their hard-earned 
sleep under the stars; sometimes they were lucky to sleep tinder a 
pup tent. 

Once Red Munson and Jim Snyder in a forward area had spent 
the night sleeping out in the open. Upon awakening they were 
startled to find two twelve-German gliders resting virtually at the 
foot of their bedrolls. They never did find out what had become of 
the Germans. 

"Hiya, soldiers! Red Cross coming up! Need any cigarettes, soap, 
razor blades?" 

The big bass voice of Field Director Jim Snyder booming out 
among the foxholes became a familiar and welcome sound along 
the Tunisian front. A machine-gun sergeant in France during the 
First World War (he was decorated several times for bravery under 
fire), Snyder readily adjusted himself to the rugged life the rain, 
the mud, K rations, the loss of sleep, and the thunder of battle. The 
fear of enemy shells was not in him, though he took the usual pre- 
cautions against injury. He would park his clubmobfle, and then, 
his arms full of Red Cross gifts, he would make the rounds of the 
foxholes, calling like a country auctioneer in his native Pennsylvania 
Dutch region. He served hot coffee and doughnuts and routed per- 
sonal messages to Red Cross Home Service workers all over the 
United States. When his supplies were exhausted, he would drive 
back to Tebessa for perhaps a hundred and fifty miles over muddy, 
winding roads. All this he did with a good-natured grin, a joke, and 
a song, which conveyed the suggestion that he was *on a lark. "Quite 
a guy, that Jim," commented Munson, his supervisor* 


In the following account of a sixteen-day exploratory tour of the 
Tunisian front, quoted by Lora Kelly in the Red Cross Courier, Red 
Munson gives a glimpse of Red Cross field operations: 

Our purpose was to bring the field service of the American 
Red Cross as close to the men as was practical. We wanted to see 
how close to the front we could operate with a maximum of bene- 
fit to the troops. 

Too close to the fighting men would mean transportation diffi- 
culties and inability to establish communications with American 
Red Cross headquarters in Algiers and consequently to the people 
of the United States. Too far behind the lines would obviously 
not be feasible. 

We traveled eastward from Algiers for three days, stopping to 
chat with men camped along the roads. A real friendliness and 
warmth exist on these North African highways there's a tin of 
gasoline for your car when you're running low, a battered can 
of oil for your boiling, pounding motor just for the asking. 

The second night out t at sundown, we ran into an American 
convoy stopping for their evening rations, which consisted of 
bologna sausage without bread. In digging through our club- 
mobile we found some crackers. Putting the two together made 
cooperation on the highway to the nth degree. 

On the evening of the third day we pulled into a small town 
some 400 miles east of Algiers. After scouting a bit we found a 
battalion of American infantry, a small army postoffice and a 
finance office. After conference with the Army officers we were 
convinced this was it! 

We bought out a local cafe lock, stock and barrel for the 
sum of $53, but we did permit the proprietor to keep his stock. 

Our club was furnished with a piano, a phonograph and a radio. 
About twelve writing tables were installed, together with a read- 
ing room and a small lending library of one hundred books. These 
were loaned out in the first hour of business. A waiting list was 
formed as fast as the books were returned. One soldier followed 
the men to the check-out desk and asked for a book any book. 
He didn't care anything about the author, the title or the contents. 
He just wanted to read English. 

It wasn't long until about 800 men were using the club facilities. 
The men were so enthusiastic they pitched right in and helped. 
One lad in particular proved a real find. He had been a baker in* 
the States, so I turned over all my doughnut flour to him and he, 
really went to town. You should have seen the smiles of satis- 

faction of the men when he yelled, "Come and get 'em!" over 
his first great heaping batch of crisp, golden doughnuts like 

mother used to make. 


Sniping was still going on in the streets of Oran when Red Cross 
Field Director Fincke hoisted the United States and Red Cross flags 
over an empty, barnlike automobile showroom and set up the first 
Red Cross club in North Africa. 

Before there was a chair on the checkerboard stone floor, soldiers 
began to saunter in singly and in pairs. "That's all right," they said. 
"We just want a place to talk and smoke." 

By nightfall there were a dozen small tables, twenty chairs, and a 
piano, all obtained through the kindly offices of M. Louis Ray, 
head of the French Red Cross in North Africa. That first evening 
doughboys gathered round the piano and satisfied their homesick- 
ness by singing old American tunes. At the piano was Lucie Lee 
Kinsolving, New York City, Red Cross hospital recreation worker, 
who had come off a troop transport only a few hours before. "Gee, 
this sure is like home," sighed one of the Yanks, and Miss Kinsolving 
and her colleagues felt rewarded for all their trouble. 

From this humble beginning the American Red Cross club pro- 
gram spread across French North Africa. Five clubs with eighteen 
Red Cross staff workers were in operation in Algiers, Casablanca, 
Oran, and Constantine only a few weeks after the inkial landings. 
By July i, 1943, there were tiiirty-three units enlisted men's clubs, 
officers' clubs, on-post clubs, Navy fleet clubs in the ports, rest 
homes, and movie theaters staffed by 140 Red Cross dub workers. 
To keep house at the Algiers club for thousands of men daily re- 
quired a staff of twelve Rid Crossers and nearly a hundred civilian 
employees. The clubs were complete with hotel, restaurant, snack 
bar, and comprehensive recreation facilities. 

Early in the invasion, the Red Cross met the need of the troops 
for live-talent shows by organizing an entertainment division as 
part of its club program. One of its most successful enterprises was 
a vaudeville troupe, "Show-on- Wheels," directed by Frank Goodeli, 
New York City. This mobile troupe consisted of refugee French 
artists and theatrical stars stranded in Algiers. It played to more 
than 100,000 troops in camp, hospitals, leave centers, airports and 
in mountain and desert bivouac areas. 

Also popular were the musical revues produced in the Red Cross 
Empire Club in Oran by Martin Jones, Broadway producer. The 
club, formerly the old Empire Theater, was packed daily with thou- 
sands of American soldiers back from the Tunisian front after their 


great victory over the Axis forces. Out of the uniformed ranks of 
the Red Cross there materialized such surprising personalities as 
Rosemary Ames, former stage and motion picture actress; Evelyn 
Vaughn, former hat-check girl from New York who had danced 
through several Warner Brothers shorts; Star Chandler, North 
Carolina aviatrix and one-time NBC solo pianist; and a florid 250- 
pound Red Cross field director, Marvin Lewis, former Florida busi- 
nessman, whose aptitude for mimicry made him the surprise hit of 
the show. The Army yielded a snake-charming Boston trumpeter, 
Walter McKenna, formerly of Ruby Newman's band; Irving Bern- 
stein, New York City, former half-pint comedian of the Murray- 
Burns vaudeville team; and others. The cast was finally completed 
with seven Red Cross workers, six soldiers, and six professional 
French dancers. Producer Jones staged a series of five musical re- 
vues before the Army Special Services decided to arrange its own 
live-talent shows for the troops. 

Probably the most unusual and colorful of the Red Cross clubs in 
North Africa was the Allied Club in Oran, housed in the same 
automobile showroom where the first invasion troops were enter- 
tained. When the regal Empire Club was opened, the Red Cross 
decided to continue the Allied Club as an experiment in interna- 
tional relations. 

For while it was predominantly an Anglo-American show, the 
North African campaign was fought by representatives of many 
nations. On the ground, under General Alexander, were Americans, 
British, French, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, South Afri- 
cans, Poles, Czechs, Dutch, Norwegians, Palestine Jews, Senegalese, 
French Goumiers (fierce Moroccan warriors), and Indo-Chinese. 
Admiral Andrew Cunningham's Allied fleet included Norwegian, 
Greek, and Polish warships. Greek, Polish, and Yugoslav fliers flew 
with other national groups comprising the Northwest African Air 
Forces under command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder. 
A Free French brigade under the legendary General Jaques Le 
Clerc assisted General Montgomery in driving the Afrika Korps 
from its strongly fortified positions behind the Mareth Line after 
making a three-thousand-mile advance across the Sahara Desert. 
Another picturesque unit was the Corps Franc Afrique, the Free 
Corps of Africa, who fought under General Giraud, though not 
as a part of the regular French Army. This unit represented a cross 
section of Europe's despoiled populations. All of its soldiers were 
refugees, including exiled Germans and Austrians, who had joined 
the French Foreign Legion before France's collapse in June, 1940. 
The Allies found them slaving in North African coal mines and on 

the traiis-Saliaran railway betrayed to the Nazis by Vichy after 
the armistice. 

And it was this cosmopolitan army which made the Red Cross 
Allied Club their headquarters. On any typical night an observer 
might have seen men in olive drab, blue and brown, garrison and 
overseas caps, ecru turbans, and tall bright-red fezzes; white, blue, 
and red-tasseled sailors' caps all grouped around a grinning Yank 
pounding away at the piano, the voices in mixed tongues raised 
in tribute to Dinah. 

The club was equipped with a short-wave radio set, a phonograph 
with many records and needles, a library of 750 books and 250 
magazines, tables, chairs, checkroom racks, and the original piano. 
One of the popular features was the snack bar for sandwiches, fruit 
juices, and ice cream. The elation on the face of an Arab soldier as 
he dipped his tin spoon into a dish of ice cream perhaps his second 
or third in a lifetime was something worth seeing. 

It was not the props, however, that made the Red Cross Allied 
Club such a gratifying success, but the friendly international atmos- 
phere maintained by the three Red Cross club workers. The hostess 
was Mrs. Verna Johnson, Washington, D.G, who, when not arrang- 
ing flowers, working on interior decorations, sewing on buttons for 
soldiers, or dancing with the boys, would be conversing with a 
homesick French trooper in his native tongue. Her capable assistants 
were Fannye F. "Tex" Beaty, Orange, Texas, former WPA recrea- 
tion supervisor, and Vivian Acord, Los Angeles, California, former 
radio performer. 

These club workers enjoyed themselves as much as the Allied 
soldiers, sailors, and merchant seamen. Said Vivian Acord: 

The Allied Club is probably the best answer to the oft-repeated 
question of why we are here. Recently the success of our enter- 
prise was attested in a manner which made us feel both proud and 
humble. An American soldier told us how much he thought we 
were helping create a feeling of friendship between the United 
States and her Allies. And he backed up his conviction with a 
sizeable contribution to assist us in our work. 

Another significant development was the Town Hall program 
sponsored by the American Red 'Cross. 

Based on the traditional New .England type of forum, the Red 
Cross Town Hall met the distinct need among intelligent United 
States Army officers and enlisted men for the kind of thinking 
stimulated by free discussions. For those men who had little or no 


conception of what the United States was fighting for, this project 
opened new horizons. It made them far less susceptible to enemy 
propaganda broadcasts at the front, and lent significance to their 

While novel among American forces, this type of program was 
well established among the British Army in North Africa. It was 
carried on by the British Army Education Corps, whose chief pur- 
pose was to stimulate clear thinking by means of informal talks and 
group discussions. The British appeared keenly aware that the post- 
war world would be shaped largely by the men who were doing 
the fighting, and the B.A.E.C. speakers' program was aimed at in- 
forming British soldiers. 

Red Cross Town Hall hoped to do the same for American sol- 

The idea was conceived by Dr. Ferdinand M. Isserman, rabbi 
of Temple Israel, St. Louis, Missouri, in the spring of 1943. Dr. 
Isserman, who had come to North Africa as a volunteer special 
American Red Cross representative, spent four weeks of the final 
phase of the Tunisian campaign at the front. There he noticed how 
eagerly the American soldiers awaited the daily seven-o'clock broad- 
cast of the British Broadcasting Company. This confirmed his belief 
that many fighting men, however much their talk and wishes were 
concerned with physical comforts, also were keenly interested in the 
world about them. 

Upon his return from the front Dr. Isserman persuaded Red Cross 
club leaders to sponsor a Town Hall program as part of their recrea- 
tional program in the North African theater. After Army clearance, 
the club leaders were willing to experiment. 

Eager to make an auspicious start, the St. Louis rabbi scoured Al- 
giers for a good speaker. At a rest camp he first approached Ernie 
Pyle. While entirely sympathetic, Ernie begged off with the state- 
ment that for him speaking in public was an unendurable ordeal. 
Fred Painton of the Reader's Digest launched Town Hall with a 
lecture on "Why Battles Are Boring" based on his experiences in the 
Tunisian campaign. The lecture, given at the Red Cross officers' 
club in Algiers on June 7, 1943, won Painton an ovation from the 
two hundred officers present. The experiment was a success. 

The next morning Captain Robert Neville, editor of Stars and 
Stripes, received a letter from a sergeant inquiring why ,this type 
of program was given to officers only, and not to enlisted men. This 
letter led to Town Hall's being extended to the Red Cross enlisted 
men's club in Algiers. The first speaker there was Relman Morin, 
former head of the Associated Press bureau t in Tokyo, who spoke 

on "What Led Japan on the Road to War." The following week 
Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, the President's son, addressed a capacity 
audience on. "Photo Reconnaissance, the Eyes of the Army." When 
he finished, he was overwhelmed by some two hundred GFs de- 
manding his autograph. He signed American dollar bills, French 
bank notes, and an assortment of paper scraps. 

With Dr. Isserman as moderator, Town Hall became a regular 
weekly feature on Monday evenings at the Red Cross officers' club 
and on Friday evenings at the Red Cross enlisted men's club. Sub- 
sequently, under Town Hall auspices, groups of officers and men 
gathered at theaters, lecture halls, overseas clubs, airfields, rest 
camps, bivouac areas, and hospitals in French North Africa. 

One thing Town Hall always insisted upon was complete freedom 
of speech, and lively discussions developed at every meeting. The 
Army protected itself by ruling out operational subjects. 

A significant development early in Town Hall history was the 
exchange of speakers with the British Army Education Corps and 
the Comite de la Liberation. This led to a notable improvement in 
mutual understanding among the three chief allies in North Africa 
Americans, British, and French. 

Town Hall audiences regularly heard well-known war corres- 
pondents, authors, historians, diplomats, and Allied Army officers. 
Some of the speakers were: Robert Murphy, President Roosevelt's 
personal representative in North Africa, who spoke on "Some Phases 
of Our French Policy"; Harold Macmillan, M.P., British Minister 
Resident in North Africa; M. Henri Bonnet, Minister of Informa- 
tion of the French National Committee of Liberation; Andre 
Maurois, Captain Leon Torrou, ace G-man who tracked down Nazi 
spies in America before the war, Major Melvin Purvis, another FBI 
agent, and Captain Robert Neville, editor of Stars and Stripes. 

Also the following British and American war correspondents: 
Gerald Norman, London Times; Demaree Bess, Saturday Evening 
Post; Helen Kkkpatrick, Chicago Daily News; Drew Middleton, 
New York Times; Cy Peterman, Philadelphia Inquirer; Quentin 
Reynolds, Collier's; Roland Stead, Christian Science Monitor; Mer- 
rill "Red" Mueller, NBC and Newsweek; H. R. Knickerbocker, 
Chicago Sun and Pierre Huss, International News Service. 

Upon Dr, Isserman's return to the United States in the summer of 
1943, Professor A. Buel Trowbridge, on leave of absence from Rol- 
lins College, Winter Park, Florida, was appointed by the Red Cross 
to take over direction of Town Hall. 

Under Professor Trowbridge's direction, the program attained 
its greatest development. With good judgment and taste he chose 


the most interesting and significant subjects. He showed great skill 
as a moderator. Being warm and human, he kept the discussions on 
an intellectual level without sacrificing humor and entertainment 
values. The boys were diverted as well as entertained, a formula 
which spelled audience interest. In May, 1944, almost a year after 
its start, Professor Trowbridge moved the Red Cross Town Hall 
from North Africa to Italy where it went on winning new successes. 

With the approach of spring, 1943, the Tunisian campaign picked 
up. The Allies occupied positions which threatened the Axis line of 
communication running from north to south. To extricate himself, 
Rommel, on February 14, launched an unexpected attack against 
the American troops west of Faid Pass in the direction of Gafsa. 
The Americans fought back, but lacking combat experience, they 
failed to make their counterattacks stick. Forced to give up Gafsa 
and Kasserine Pass, they established a new base at Tebessa just over 
the border in Algeria. Rommel's advance reached its high-water 
mark on February 22. His double-pronged assaults aimed at Thala 
and Tebessa were stopped cold by American infantry and artillery 
combined with British tanks and infantry. Here the U.S. Twelfth 
Air Force, flying in United Nations formations, contributed sub- 
stantially to Rommel's defeat. 

This was the turning point in the Tunisian campaign. The next 
day, February 23, Rommel was back in his familiar role of the 
pursued Desert Fox with Allied planes, like enraged eagles, pounc- 
ing upon his retreating columns. 

General George S. Patton's reorganized Second Corps was soon 
to avenge Kasserine Pass. On March 17 the Americans recaptured 
Gafsa, and within a few days possession of El Guettar, Maknassy, 
and the Kasserine Pass passed into their hands. 

The long-expected spring offensive got under way during the 
moonless night of March 20-2 1 when General Montgomery threw 
thunderbolts on RommePs strong hill defenses in the Mareth Line. 
At the same time General Patton's American troops, the British 
First Army, and French contingents opened up from the other side. 
Five days later Lieutenant General Freyberg's New Zealanders made 
a brilliant flanking movement which finally forced Rommel to 
abandon the Mareth Line altogether. 

^On April 7, American and British Eighth Army patrols made 
contact on the Gafsa road a few miles southeast of El Guettar. This 
led to the co-ordination of all the Allied forces in North Africa. 
Montgomery no longer had to depend for his supplies upon the 
long and uncertain route around the Cape to Egypt and across the 

Libyan desert; his needs now could be met much more expeditiously 
from North African bases. Also, now it was possible to shift Allied 
troops from one sector to another to meet specific demands of the 

By the end of April the Allies had won complete mastery of the 
situation. The initiative was entirely in their hands. Their co- 
ordinated attacks by land, sea, and air forced the enemy back 
inexorably to be squeezed into the Tunis-Bizerte-Cap Bon triangle. 

One of the decisive factors in this tremendous success was the 
Northwest African Air Forces. Formed on February 18, 1943, this 
organization integrated the whole of the United Nations' air strength 
in North Africa. Notwithstanding its immense size, it flew as one 
team, closely co-ordinating its activities with the movement of Allied 
ground forces. Its planes screened Allied maneuvers or spread a 
protective umbrella over attacking troops, and time and again saved 
Allied forces from savage enemy thrusts. They protected Allied 
shipping and bases, while attacking the shipping and bases of the 
enemy. They blasted Axis airfields and ports not only in Tunisia but 
in Sicily, Sardinia, and southern Italy. Ultimately they drove the 
enemy's air support from the skies, exposing Axis troops on the 
ground to merciless punishment from Allied artillery, mortar, armor, 
dive bombers, and fighters. 

The American unit of this invincible air power was the Twelfth 
Air Force in command of Lieutenant General Carl Spaatz, who had 
succeeded Lieutenant General James EL Doolittle. In every major 
movement of the Tunisian campaign, American flyers contributed 
substantially toward victory. 

American Red Cross doughnuts rolled into the Tunisian cam- 
paign late in March, about the time that the great spring offensive 
was beginning. The first doughnuts in North Africa were served to 
a surprised and pleased group of soldiers at Fifth Army headquarters 
in Oujda. Hot coffee and doughnuts were distributed from a Red 
Cross clubmobile by two Red Cross staff assistants, Mary Ross 
Moen, of Onawa, Iowa, former secretary to Isadore Lubin, economic 
advisor to President Roosevelt; and Lois Berney, of Fallon, Nevada, 
former White House secretary to Harry Hopkins. Their regular 
assignment was to meet troop trains. At that time there were heavy 
troop movements to the Tunisian front. Misses Moen and Berney 
met two trains a day, one in the afternoon, the other at midnight. 
To keep this schedule, the young women sometimes went without 
food or sleep, but they felt rewarded once they arrived at the sta- 
tion. The men were tired, dirty, and hungry, and sometimes had just 
come off a boat. When their officers announced, "Doughnuts and 


hot coffee; come and get 'em," they poured out of the train and 
literally danced on the platform. 

General Montgomery had prohibited American or British women 
from going beyond Constantine. This ruled out Red Cross dough- 
nuts to ground forces in Tunisia, except those served by Red Cross 
field directors. 

General Spaatz, on the other hand, requested the Red Cross club- 
mobile program for his Twelfth Air Force personnel. He became so 
enthusiastic over the combination of hot coffee, doughnuts, and Red 
Cross girls as a morale booster that his own daughter, Katharine, 
became a clubmobile girl in England and later served in France. 

Misses Moen and Berney were part of a pioneer ten-girl unit who 
staffed the first five Red Cross clubmobiles in North Africa. While 
they met the troop trains, their associates covered advanced air bases 
of the Twelfth Air Force. The latter, working in teams of two, 
were: Margaret Roblee, Providence, Rhode Island; Selma Norbeck, 
Washington, D. G, daughter of the late Senator from South Dakota; 
Betty Hitchcock, St. Louis, Missouri; Sue Macpherson, Saginaw, 
Michigan; Elsa Frame, Rydal, Pennsylvania; Margaret Ritchie Ris- 
dale, Spring Lake, New Jersey; Eleanor Preble, Bryn Mawr, Penn- 
sylvania; and Lydia Sherwood, New York City, niece of Robert 
Sherwood, the playwright. 

Each pair of clubmobiles operated out of one or the other of two 
large Air Force headquarters to service the airfields composing each 
wing. The girls were able to make at least one visit a week to every 
squadron and gun crew camp spread over many miles of the African 

But bomber and fighter squadrons rated a visit every day they re- 
turned from a mission. The girls were told in code by military intel- 
ligence when a mission was expected to return. General Spaatz had 
arranged for this priority. It required the full time of two club- 
mobiles, one meeting bombers, the other the fighter escorts. 

Serving airmen gave Red Cross clubmobile girls a conviction of 
being useful. The fliers had just been through a terrific ordeal and 
were pretty well worn down. They may have flown in sub-zero 
weather, and, perhaps, had not eaten for many hours. Some of their 
crew mates may not have come back, or had been brought home 
seriously wounded. One can well imagine what it meant to them to 
be greeted, as they climbed out of their planes, by attractive, whole- 
some American girls who laughed and kidded as they poured out 
hot coffee and dished out crisp doughnuts. The boys' tension was 
eased. They felt better and were able to give a more intelligent re- 
port of their mission in the briefing tent. 

Nor were the antiaircraft crews and observation post details over- 
looked in their lonely, Isolated outposts. 

The clubmobile program was installed by the American Red Cross 
in all the war theaters to meet the demands of mobile warfare. In 
England, India, the Middle East, North Africa, Australia, New 
Guinea and elsewhere, U.S. troops were scattered over wide areas. 
The fixed Red Cross clubs did not fill their needs for leisure-time 
recreation. The problem was solved by the clubmobile which, essen- 
tially, was a club on wheels. Clubmobiles varied in size from the 
large convertible city transportation bus type to small trucks and 
station wagons, depending on the area and purposes to which they 
were assigned. Their equipment varied too. Usually a clubmobile had 
a doughnut machine and facilities to make enough coif ee to keep 
up with the capacity of the doughnut machine. It also carried a 
circulating library of books and magazines, chewing tobacco, Ameri- 
can cigarettes, writing paper, and a phonograph with a loud speaker. 

While the first five clubmobiles in North Africa were staffed by 
teams of two girls, the normal complement was three girls, one of 
whom was designated the captain. 

Soldiers regarded the presence of a man in a clubmobile as a re- 
flection on their chivalry, and so only in areas of danger or where 
unusual conditions prevailed did a field director or assistant field 
director accompany a clubmobile unit. 

The girls wore regulation overseas uniforms supplemented by 
heavy driving gloves, sturdy boots, practical raincoats, to say noth- 
ing of coveralls for that emergency repair job. The men preferred 
them in skirts rather than slacks. They were called "doughgirls," 
"doughnuteers," and "Rover girls." 

A close-up of a clubmobile unit in action in North Africa is given 
in the following report by Eleanor Yinger, of Lansing, Michigan, a 
Red Cross staff assistant, who accompanied three "doughnuteers" to 
a lonely oupost: 

"Don't bother to put any sugar in my coffee; just stick your 
finger in it, honey." 

I laughed as the remark was new to me, but Rose Marie, ladling 
cream from a large can, whispered that I would be hearing it many 

"Hey, where's that smile? A smile with every doughnut, we 
were told." 

So absorbed was I in thinking of a clever rejoinder that I had 
forgotten to smile. I soon discovered that this long line of hel- 
meted boys emerging from their camouflaged camp into the dusk 


of the clearing had come for our smiles as for our doughnuts and 

That morning I had watched 2500 golden brown rings pop from 
their sizzling pan. Now I was to see an equal weight in smiles 
spread along that line of 800 men. In honor of our visit the lonely 
outpost had called out its band which played as we served. 

I did not really belong there, but went along for the experience 
with the "three little sisters" of this Division. George Sperry, 
Glendale, California, clubmobile director, had also come to get 
things lined up for the evening. 

Our clubmobile bore on its side the legend that its maintenance 
"was provided for by the "American Legio f n Auxiliary, U.S.A." We 
were bringing an American institution the doughnutto the sons, 
brothers, and husbands of members of a great organization of 
American women back home, and serving them in their name. 

"Hey, Bill, how many times are you going through that line?" 

"Don't worry, you guys; I'm not after more doughnuts. I'm 
collecting smiles!" 

Voices ring out above the band music, and occasionally we 
catch a remark from the group gathered behind us to those who 
are "sweating the line." 

"You never liked coffee before, Mike." 

"We never had KP's that looked like this," Mike retorts. 

Five fingers are spread five pegs for doughnuts. Ruth Bondy, 
Red Cross clubmobUer from Washington, D. C, deposits one on 
the forefinger and one on the thumb. 

"I have a sick buddy back in the tent," he grins. "I don't expect 
you to believe me." Ruth slips a doughnut on the litde finger. 

"And I want one for my brother-in-law." Everyone laughs. 

The joshing is no longer strained, and laughs reverberate 
throughout the little hillside clearing. The North African pines 
no longer seem strange, and the flaming rays of sun dropping to 
rest over the Atlas foothills, casting their bright reflections in the 
waters of the Mediterranean below us, speak benediction on this 
bit of America away from home. "Golly, but it's good to hear you 
girls laughing around here." 

"Where do you live?" I am asked as the scoop of sugar drops 
into the cup. It is hard to see the two eyes that peer out from the 
shadows of the helmet. 

"Michigan," I reply. "Where are you from?" 

His canteen cup of coffee takes a rapid hazardous journey to his 
left hand as his right one grips mine, sugar scoop and all. "Illinois. 


Golly, it's good to see someone from near home. And it sure is 
a treat to talk to an American girL" 

Doughnuts, smiles, talkthat's what it takes to be sister to a 
whole division; and here I was, sharing the thrill of it all, and 
seeing just how three Red Cross girls carried doughnuts with 
smiles to thousands of men. 

Ruth Bondy, Esther Crow, St. Louis, Missouri, and Rose Marie 
De Cotis, Watervliet, New York, carry full cargoes of charm and 
friendliness. I watched this Red Cross clubmobile unit during the 
day's operations and felt the contagion and warmth of their smiles. 

"Did you make these doughnuts yourself, really?" the boys 
would ask as they passed along the line. The answer was yes, even 
to mixing and kneading the dough. 

The line dwindles and attention is focused on the band. I can't 
tell exactly how it happened, but a space was cleared and we girls 
found ourselves dancing with the most jive-conscious of the boys, 
with a large hand-clapping audience surrounding us. It's quite an 
experience to jitterbug on a hillside with vines and twigs decorat- 
ing your oxfords. Just as you begin wishing one leg were shorter 
than the other, you find that now you are towering on a higher 
plane than your partner, looking over his head at a laughing 
group of amused GIs. Then comes the exciting moment. Your 
partner swings you out, and you find yourself on a rapid descent 
down the hill, jerked out of reach of the line of observers by the 
strong arm of your partner. 

Ruth, who is the jitterbug specialist, having raised more dust on 
the hillsides of North Africa than any other dancing daughter, 
tells of one sad experience. Her partner failed to retrieve her on 
that downward swing and she landed underneath a truck. Rescued, 
she was swung into another round of rugcutting and has survived 
with a story to tell her grandchildren. 

Bill Holt, New York City, the division's Red Cross field di- 
rector, has a good voice. He sang "Star Dust" and "Night and 
Day" and soon it was so quiet you could hear the lump in your 
throat. But this was no time for homesickness. Bill soon had us 
all singing. How the hills rang, until "Goodnight, Ladies" pro- 
claimed that the clubmobile was ready to convey its little unit 
back to headquarters. Shouts of "Thanks for coming," and "Come 
again soon," followed us down the road. 

The lonely figure of a guard distinguished itself from the sur- 
rounding shadows. "Did you get a doughnut?" called one of the 
girls. Several had been saved for these sentinels along the way. 
Their faces looked happy as they stood at the car door. 


"Good night," called the Red Cross girls. "See you later." 

This evening the officers told us how much that "see you later" 
means to the men. 

Why? I wondered about this as our little clubmobile made its 
way homeward. Why do soldiers sometimes find themselves 
speechless when they try to talk to us girls? Why does it all mean 
so much to them? 

Another glance at Ruth, Esther, and Rose Marie gave me the 
answer. They represent everything these boys admire in American 
womanhood vivacity, grace, charm, virtue, beauty, enthusiasm, 
intelligence, and that wholesome friendliness and" interest that re- 
minds them of sister and wife, girl friend and mother. 

The final phase of the Tunisian campaign was swift and devas- 
tating. On May i, units of the U.S. Second Corps captured Hill 609 
(Djebel Tahent), key to Bizerte. This battle became famous for the 
skirmish of the stone walls, which took place in an olive grove high 
up on the hill. Two American platoons faced a unit of Germans 
across a stone-bordered path only fifteen yards wide and defeated 
the enemy in a skirmish fought at point-blank range. 

On May 7 the U.S. Second Corps blasted its way into Bizerte, 
while British armored forces rolled into Tunis. Organized Axis re- 
sistance folded up along the entire front. Three days later, Axis 
units who had fled into Cap Bon for an attempted Dunkirk (frus- 
trated by a combined Allied air and naval blockade) gave up to the 
British and French. On May 13 the enemy surrendered uncondition- 
ally. The North African show was over. In the final days the Allies 
captured more than a quarter of a million Axis prisoners, half of 
them Germans from crack Panzer units, and the booty in planes, 
tanks, and other equipment was enormous. 

About a week after the victory, the crack U.S. Ninth Artillery 
Division, whose shells had helped check the Germans at Thala and 
who were in the vanguard of American troops entering Bizerte, 
received an unusual and unexpected reward: ice cream from the 
American Red Cross. Rita Hume, Red Cross clubmobile worker, 
former Seattle newspaper woman, who helped serve the ice cream, 
described the event in a report from Algiers. Her narrative follows: 

"Ice cream?'* bellowed the general. 

"Look, Miss, we've been living in fox holes and eating canned 
rations for four months. WeVe been fighting Germans at Thala. 
We shelled hell out of them at Bizerte. We've almost forgotten 


what an American girl looks like. And now, four of you suddenly 
pop up in this god-forsaken field and tell us there's ice cream." 

"Ice cream! Holy smoke where is it?" 

Those words gave four American girls their biggest thrill in 
North Africa. It all began when Joe Mason, American Red Cross 
field director and former Miami physical education executive, ar- 
rived at the American Red Cross club in Algiers with news that 
one of the* famous artillery divisions that took Bizerte was on its 
way back from the front. "Little Joe," as the gang in his division 
call him, was one of our Red Cross field men at the front. He came 
in with his helmet, his dirty G.I. clothes and a big grin. His fcoys 
had been right in the thick of the fighting for three months. Why 
couldn't we meet them at their bivouac with ice cream? 

It meant a four-hour drive through the Atlas Mountains to do 
it. It meant disrupting the whole club program for the day. But 
Marge Bomberger, of Chicago and Larry Cadwell, of Urbana, 
Illinois, two of our club directors, said, "Sure." So they canceled 
the afternoon quiz program and the unit dance that night. Our 
famous ice cream factory was scraped to the last freezer. At 1:30 
that afternoon we started off, two cars and a truck. 

We met the convoy on the road, after we had driven for three 
hours. Mile after mile of dusty khaki-toned jeeps, trucks, command 
cars strung out along the narrow winding road. Perched beside 
gun mounts, bouncing along in jeeps, peering out of trucks, there 
they were, the victorious American soldiers. We'd wave and yell 
at every truck and jeep. Suddenly, as we went by, the khaki clan 
would wake up to the fact that an American girl had just shouted 
"hello" and they'd go simply crazy. The whole column would 
wave and yell and honk. What would they have done if they had 
known then that the truck following us was loaded with ice 

They were a grand sight, healthy and brown. Some of them 
had poppies strung through the green camouflage netting on their 
helmets. Bouquets of flowers hung from their jeeps. Most of the 
men had painted names on their cars. The bright yellow letterings 
proclaimed such characteristic American corn as "Perk 'n Putt" 
or "Gypsy Lee." 

We finally came to a little French village where the whole pop- 
ulace had turned out to meet the victorious American Ninth 
Artillery Division. A French guard stopped us, checked our cre- 
dentials and motioned us on to the bivouac area a few miles be- 
yond the town. 


The bivouac area was located in miles of flat field which 
stretched out on either side of the road. The convoy had already 
begun to turn off, cars spreading out over the fields in all direc- 
tions. We ploughed across the rutted, grassy hummocks as far as 
we could go in our car. Then, afraid of challenging our tired 
sedan any further, we struck out for the general's headquarters. 
It proved to be nothing more than the field on which he was 
standing, one khaki-colored sedan marked by his yeHow star, and 
a small pup tent half heartedly swaying in the breeze* The convoy 
was moving busily in around him. 

Many of the soldiers were already setting up camp. Each group 
clustered around their own vehicles. Some, stripped to the waist, 
were busy washing up in their helmets. White lathered faces con- 
spicuously announced the fact that shaving formalities were still 
observed in this traveling army. "We've been doing this for 
months," said one of the fellows with whom we stopped to talk. 
u And this is nothing," chimed in a pal. "Most of the time there's 
been rain and mud. Boy! Remember how cold it was up there at 

"We never expected to see you way out here," said the general 
when he recovered from his first surprise. "But these boys cer- 
tainly deserve it. They've done a magnificent job. They're the 
ones, you know, who held the Germans at Thala after the Kas- 
serine break-through. And we were the first ones into Bizerte. 
We've been fighting constantly since February 15. We've moved 
this whole division from Bizerte. Tomorrow morning at 5: 30 we'll 
be on our way again. But, say, what about that ice cream?" 

The next thing we knew we were bouncing along in a jeep 
with Captain Harry O. Ellis from Jonesboro, Tennessee. We 
headed over to the ice cream truck where a crowd of soldiers had 
collected. The word went out and soon jeeps were tearing madly 
across the rutted fields, nearly running down the Arabs who were 
already on the spot bargaining with their eggs. 

When the jeeps converged upon us, we discovered they were 
driven by agents from the several units bivouacked on the field. 
With three thousand men to serve, it looked like we'd have to do 
the serving mess by mess. 

"The agent from the 34th has arrived," Captain Ellis announced. 

Gwen Barrows, a tall brunette from Boston, piled into the jeep 
between two grinning soldiers and bounced off across the African 
meadow with an ice cream container jiggling precariously in the 
back seat. Gwen was on the editorial staff of the Christian Science 
Monitor before she became a*Red Cross girl last winter. 


"Agents from the 2yth reporting, sir," said another soldier as 
he rushed up. "Jeepers, are we really going to have ice cream?" 

"Honey, you sure are," drawled red headed Cheshire Cox of 
Washington, D. C, in the dulcet accent of the South, and off 
went Cheshire in another jeep between two completely bewitched 
soldiers. Marge Bomberger, who was managing the show, set off 
in another jeep. I drew a roving assignment with Sergeant Arthur 
Daniel, of Hollywood, a recent arrival from a photographic assign- 
ment with the British fleet at Malta. He had his camera ready for 

By now, the whole field had heard the news. The effect as we 
drove from one mess line to another was like wind blowing 
through a field of wheat. Everyone would wave like mad. There 
were still a few doubting souls. One captain insisted he was being 
kidded as we drove by to announce the ice cream's arrival. He 
never did show up at his mess. At another field, five soldiers, 
stripped to the waist, were batting a ball around. One of the girls 
called out "foul ball" just as an unknowing fellow was about to 
catch a^fly. Last we saw of him he was still staring at the feminine 
apparition, mouth wide open, the ball scudding off into the bushes. 

We continued on our ice cream rounds. The minute a jeep 
would arrive with girl and ice cream, it would be overwhelmed 
with shouting soldiers brandishing mess kits. 

"Hey, are you from Brooklyn?" someone was sure to yell, or 
"Ice cream? It's a mirage." 

Half the time we'd just give up and dish the ice cream right 
from the jeep, feeling like something out of Hollywood. Then 
we'd tear onto the next mess. Everyone wanted to talk. 

It was after eight o'clock when we finally got back to the head- 
quarters mess where the general and his aides \vere waiting for us. 
The general, a sandy-haired man who wears GI togs and a helmet 
like his men, sat down to the table on a chair picked up at Ferry- 
vUle. I drew a canned tomato box. 

Nearby, the long aerial attached to a radio-equipped jeep jit- 
tered in the breeze. The faint strains of modern songs drifted 
over to us. A big red full moon had risen over the California- 
like countryside. Stretched out in bedding , rolls spread on the 
ground beside their trucks were some artillery men, already in 
for the night. But most of them were very much on hand when, 
we passed out cigarettes, matches and yes, even chewing tobacco, 

Along about ten o'clock it suddenly dawned on us that we had 
a four hour drive back through the mountains. We hated to go 


it was so much fun talking to the men. As Larry Cadwell said later, 
every bit of the work involved was well worth it. 

Driving home presented unexpected problems. Ten thousand 
German prisoners were interned along the route. Two of them 
had escaped. So the three Red Cross cars maneuvered the dark 
winding roads in a tight little convoy, stopped frequently by 
French guards. 

So ended our visit to the returning heroes of the American 
Ninth Artillery Division. 

It was not all ice cream, however, for America's conquering 
heroes. It had been a hard-fought bloody campaign, exacting a ter- 
rific toll, though the Axis armies suffered five times as many casu- 
alties as the Allies. The grand total of all Allied casualties was less 
than 70,000. United States losses since the initial landings were 
18,558, of whom 2,184 were killed, 9,437 wounded, and 6,937 missing 
or prisoners of war, according to Secretary of War Stimson. British 
casualties totaled 35,000. 

Serving the nearly 10,000 American wounded was a responsibility 
of the American Red Cross. Twelve Red Cross hospital workers 
arriving with their units provided these services to the first casualties. 
Their number was steadily increased until by October i, 1943, there 
were 185 workers in fifty-five American hospitals in North Africa. 
A Red Cross hospital team consisted of a field director, a social 
worker, a recreation worker, a staff assistant, and a secretaryall 

During the campaign the large American general hospitals were 
all located west from Algiers to Casablanca; here Red Cross girls 
were on duty. The evacuation tent hospitals at the front were 
covered only by male field directors, due to General Montgomery's 
rule barring women from the forward areas. From Algiers east 
to the Tunisian border were the British general hospitals. There 
were many American patients in their wards. But they were not 
overlooked. American Red Cross hospital visiting units called on 
them on a regular schedule, bringing boxes filled with cigarettes, 
reading and writing material, and toilet articles. Visiting these Ameri- 
can boys, homesick for families and the sight of an American face, 
was one of the most satisfying and moving experiences imaginable. 

At the conclusion of the campaign a number of general hospitals, 
some in tents, were set up in Tunisia, chiefly in the Bizerte area. 

Red Cross hospital workers served the sick and wounded in the 
same way as Red Cross men did able-bodied soldiers with additions. 
Experienced social workers handled family welfare cases involving 

Home Service, procured medical and social histories from home to 
aid the doctors when a man's condition was unsatisfactory. Recrea- 
tion for hospital patients was solely the job of the Red Cross girls. 
They, too, pitched a tent and corraled magazines, games, music, and 
boondoggling materials for patients well enough to walk around but 
whose long weeks in the hospital were interminably monotonous. 
They operated movies in the wards. They wrapped Purple Hearts 
to mail home. They did shopping errands. They wrote letters for 
men too ill or too bandaged to write their own. They kept the 
library books circulating, and played the radio. They gave Private 
Joe a pencil and paper so he might try his hand at sketching. They 
took a whole ambulance load of crutch patients to the movies in a 
near-by town. They-but let Carolyn Chapin, Mt. Vemon, New 
York, Red Cross correspondent, take you to the izth General Hos- 
pital in North Africa, where you can observe Red Cross hospital 
workers in action: * 

"Is this madhouse always like this?" asked a paratrooper as he 
entered the Red Cross office at the nth General Hospital. 

^ The Red Cross girls in the office looked up, mildly surprised at 
his remark. After seven months' evolution they thought things 
were pretty well organized, and they were used to the kaleido- 
scope of humanity that flickered in and out of their office. To 
them it was a normal afternoon, but to anyone watching Red Cross 
at work in an army hospital behind the fighting lines for the first 
time, the shifting pattern might easily be bewildering. 

Jen and Fran were in the office. "Jen," Genevieve Friedenthal 
from Sacramento, California, is the assistant field director of the 
Red Cross unit and "Fran," Frances Bernhard, from Bayside, Long 
Island, New York, is her fellow social worker. The "office" is a 
small room near the door of a cement "villa" which has been 
turned over to Red Cross for their part of the hospital work. The 
hospital is a collection of such villas, spread over the cliff of a 
Mediterranean summer resort. 

It was hot and Fran had pushed up the sleeves of her gray seer- 
sucker uniform. Jen said she looked like a laundress. That set 
Fran dreaming. She had a vivid picture of the Red Cross girls 
going into the laundry business and making millions of dollars and 
being able to charter a ship on which they'd transport thousands 
and thousands of radios, magazines,- ditty bags and cokes enough 
for every single American boy lying in a hospital in Africa. When 

* Miss Chapin was killed in an airplane crash while on duty in Italy, May 
10, 1944. 


Red Cross hospital girls dream, they always dream in terms of 
more supplies. 

A patient crawling under the desk to chase a wayward ping- 
pong ball brought Fran back to reality. 

It came from the adjoining recreation room. There the radio 
was blaring and a perspiration-soaked Negro boy was squeezing 
hot boogie from the piano. The balls pinged on the ping-pong 
tables, and a group of patients, huddled over a map, were plan- 
ning the Italian campaign. 

Joe and Mike, two patients looking as alike as Bobbsey twins 
in sailor hats and chest casts, came in to discuss loans to tide them 
over until they were invalided home. They filled out application 
blanks, with the girls' help, and went off to get their ward officer's 

One patient requested British air-mail forms; a Brooklyn twang 
demanded phonograph needles. They were referred to the Library, 
in the next room, where an enlisted man of the hospital staff, 
loaned to the Red Cross, presided over books and supplies. A 
patient came in to exhibit the posters he was making for a variety 

A medical officer stuck his head in, wanting to borrow a copy 
of Stars and Stripes, Army newspaper, to read while he sat in 
the barber's chair. "I know you people are only supposed to give 
them to patients, but . . ." The girls lent him a copy with their 

A ward man reported that a patient in Ward 13 thought his 
WAG cousin might be stationed nearby. The ward was all ex- 
cited. The girls promised to find out. 

While Fran wrote a letter to his mother for Howard, a patient 
with a broken neck, Jen'^ low voice was heard soothing another 
patient who couldn't understand why his baby hadn't been bom 
yet. The cabled inquiry had gone out to Red Cross in the States. 

An emotionally upset patient came in to chat, but left in a huff 
because there were so many people in the office, and Fran made a 
mental note to visit him in his ward. 

Two nurses came in, one to request the Red Cross to write for 
a missing barracks bag, and one to request a case history be ob- 
tained for the medical officer from a patient's former company. 

An artillery lieutenant popped in to invite all the girls to a 

Out in the patio someone was demanding a French newspaper; 
the girls abstractedly shoved a copy through the window. 

Mildred "Milly" Leinback, Reading, Pennsylvania, recreation 


worker on the Red Cross team, entered with, the Post Exchange 
sergeant to go into a huddle over the week's supplies for patients 
whose pay had not caught up with them* 

Wenonah "Win" Wahler, Livingston, New Jersey, the other 
recreation girl, stepped in just then to write the name of the day's 
movie on the blackboard. 

"How do you spell Val-paF?" asked a one-armed boy banging 
away on the typewriter. 

Nancy Gatch, Washington, D. C, the unit's secretary, looked 
up from her filing to announce with consternation that she had 
run out of cards. Whereupon Jen decided on a shopping trip to 
town the next day for banking, supplies, and shopping errands 
for the patients. 

A surgery major sent in for a coke for a wired jaw case who 
couldn't eat. 

"I've written a song!" cried a patient, bursting in. He waved 
a sheet of paper. The girls smiled and said, "That's nice." He 
closed the door and with complete unselfconsciousness flooded 
the tiny room with his rich baritone, singing a lyric about Africa 
and Jersey moons. 

Jack came back with the string. Nancy was called to the phone 
over at headquarters. The soldier who had brought the message, 
stopped to show a picture of his girL It was explained to a be- 
wildered patient, exploring on his first day out of bed t that this 
was not the PX, and that Red Cross did not sell anything. The 
Bobbsey twins came in with their signed loan papers. Talk was 
general, ranging from Radio City to the white sand of Florida. 

Milly set off for the park with a music group. 

Grausi, a French civilian helper, tried to tell Jen, with gestures, 
that he needed bigger screws for the desk chairs he was trying 
to fix. 

Nancy's phone call turned out to be a cable for a man in one 
of Fran's wards. Fran shoved back her chair, applied lipstick 
briefly, tucked pencil, money order forms and brief service cards 
in her pocket and stopped to roll down her sleeves. Jen had said 
she looked like a laundress. 

Why not? Red Cross girls in an Army hospital do about every- 
thing else for the patients. 

Frances Bernhard, one of the Red Cross girls mentioned ia the 
preceding narrative, wrote many letters to loved ones of patients 
at i ith General Hospital. As Americans and British had fought 
side by side, and occupied cots in the same hospital wards, her letters 


vent to Great Britain as well as the United States. Her replies were 
mmerous letters of thanks and of entreaty, letters showing the 
inxiety and the courage of those who waited for their men to come 

Among her collection, the following letters, their writers unidenti- 
led, were quoted in one of her monthly reports from the hospital: 

Mrs. G. Whose Son Died 
Dear Miss : 

We received your letter of October 5th and we appreciate your 

writing to us very much. L never did get to come home. He died 

while in the hospital in Brooklyn, New York so I could not give 
him your good wishes. The Navy Department said he had a hemor- 
rhage of the brain and he died while asleep. If you can tell us any- 
thing about him while in the hospital there we would appreciate it. 
God bless you, dear. 

Sincerely yours, 

Mrs, G 
An English Wife 
My dear Friend: 

I am writing to thank you for your kindness in letting me know 
the whereabouts and welfare of my beloved husband. I have been 
beside myself with worry. He is my whole concern. How much is 
he hurt? I would very much like to know. I would dearly love to 
see him as I could do a lot towards making him better, I know. If 
he were only in this country somewhere I could and would get to 
see him, but I know I will not have the lucky chance. I thank you 
from the bottom of my heart for the kindness of writing to me on 
his behalf. I know you have indeed made him happy and also myself 
and my children. Please may I ask you another favor for us. We 
need a written certificate from the doctor giving the time my hus- 
band entered the hospital as I keep his club paid here for him and 
then I can draw the club money for him. 

You say he is a very fine person, flfe is, and to think he is so re- 
spected all those miles away is so wonderful. I am so very proud 
of him. Would you please show him this letter and also give him 
all my deepest love, and that I am always waiting his return. The 
children both send their daddy darling all their love and wish that he 
will be coming home soon. Goodnight and God bless you for the 
great kindness you have wrought. 

Mrs. B 


The Father of Four Boys in the Service 
Dear Madam: 

I do thank you for writing to me for my son as I have been so 
very worried about him. As you say, it is hard, for I have one a 
prisoner in Japanese hands and then there was no news from 
"Johnny." You can imagine how I felt when I got your letter after 
six months with no word, I am very proud of him and my other 
three sons too. I do hope he continues to progress. Thank youf 
very much. I am, 

Yours sincerely, 


A Fiancee 

Dear Miss : 

Received your letter in which you wrote for my boy friend 
"Joe." It was so kind of you to take over for him and it made me 
the happiest girl in the world to hear from him after such a long 
time. His buddy told me his eyes were hurt. I want to thank you a 
million for making it possible to hear from him. I hope this finds 
you in the best of health. Give my love to "Joe" and God bless 
you both. 

Sincerely yours, 

Miss M 

An Anxious Father 

Dear : 

I am very much obliged to you for the pleasure you have given 
me and my family in writing this cheerful letter of my son "John." 
God bless you for it. You see, I knew that he was injured on the 
arms and it had me worried very much. How could he fit into so- 
ciety, the cost of living, supporting himself, his wife, and I hope 
some day his family. One of his buddies, Lt. M , has returned to 
the United States and I saw him at the hospital. He told me that my 
boy was hit on the arms and chest. I think, like you, that that was 
an heroic deed of my boy, himself suffering terribly. He crawled 
up to this Lieutenant, cut his trousers and applied sulfanilimide to 
the shattered leg. To know that "John" expects to be able to write 
to me himself next week fills me with joy. His mother cried over 
the letter. Again thanking you and wishing you all the best in the 
world. God bless you. I remain, 

Mr. W 

A Brother in the Army 

Dear Miss : 

I was more than glad to hear that my brother is getting along 
fine. I appreciate your writing to me. I sure sweated the letter out 
I know the location where he is at so I will try to get up to see him 
if possible, but I don't know when it will be so tell him to be very 
good until I get up to see him. I hope that you can stand his har- 
monica playing. I am glad you were able to find one for him, but I 
know he is not so -good at it. Tell him that everything is fine where 
I am at. It is now time for all soldiers to be in bed so I will bring 
this to a close. Hoping to see you and my brother soon. 



[P.S. He got here.] 

The Mother of a Critically 111 Patient 

Dear Miss : 

I am writing to thank you for every kindness you have shown to 
my darling son. I also want to thank you for writing to me for him. 
I can't tell you how glad I was to get your letters. It was a great 
help to get letters from some one "who had seen him. He is a very 
very dear son. I couldn't tell you how grieved I am that he is so 
badly hurt. I am sure he has begun to improve some now. I am 
sorry you wasn't allowed to tell me about the extent of his injuries. 
Thank you kindly for sending me the Surgeon General's address. 
He referred my letter to the Adjutant General. I hope he will tell 
me. Does my son get my letters? and the pictures I sent him. Please 
tell him to take care of himself, and get well. We love him and want 
him back. Thank you again. God bless you. 

Mrs. S 

The Mother of a Patient Who Died in the Hospital 

Dear Miss : 

Received your letter and I can't write in words how glad I was 
to get it. You will never know how much better we all felt when 
we knew how good you all was to him. Yes, we were so in hopes 
there could be a mistake. We just could not give up until we got 
your letter and the nurse's letter which the War Department for- 
warded to us. I just wish I could meet you both and put my arms 
around your necks and thank you. It is so hard to give him up, but 

the Lord's will must be done and not ours. We surely appreciate 
everything that has been done. Thank you for sending me his Purple 
Heart. Please thank the doctors and nurses for me. If there is any- 
thing we can do for you here please write and tell me, or If there 
is anything you would like me to send you, candy or cake or any- 
thing, we would just love to do something for you. It will soon be 
one year since "Roy" went to camp. He didn't even get to come 
back on time. Again we thank you so much and I pray God will 
bless you in all your work. 

Mrs, G 

A Wife 

Dear Miss : 

It was indeed a pleasure receiving the money order which my 

husband, "T >} had you purchase to send to me, and your very 

gracious note accompanying the same. I'm very happy to know 
that he is coming along nicely and thankful to you for your kindness 
in visiting with my husband. Fm sure that something like you're 
doing brings many hours of sunshine and pleasure to my husband and 
many other boys, which they'll never forget. 

To thank you would hardly describe my feelings. I'm very proud 
of my husband and proud to think that someone as nice as you has 
been so nice to us. 

Mrs. F 

The Mother of an Only Son 

Dear Miss : 

I received my son, CpL M -'s Purple Heart. I and his father 
are very proud of him. Not only of him, but of all the rest of you 
over there for you are all doing a grand job. We wish to thank 
you for your attention to our son. He has told us all about you* 
As you were so kind to write to us and let us know about our son, 
I am going to ask you for another favor. Do you think it could be 
arranged that M could come home for his convalescing period? 
We have a modern home with modern improvements. We are lo- 
cated 25 miles from a Veteran's HospitaL I have had some training 

as a nurse and I will give M all my time. We also have a very 

good doctor. Please let me know If this could be arranged. In any 
case, thanking you, I remain, 

Mrs. C 

An English Mother 

Dear Miss : 

Thank you so much again for sending the letter for "F ." My 
father also sends his compliments and thank you. We think it is 
most kind of you. We are so glad and thank God he is in such good 
hands. I am sure he is a good boy. He is the baby of our family and 
we think the \vorld of him. He's got a lovely nature (of course, he 
can be a young devil when he likes). I have had a lovely report of 

Major and yourself from Trooper "L " who was a patient 

in your hospital. He was kind enough to write me when he arrived 

in England and told me all about "F ." I am expecting him to 

come any day. If, dear, you come to England, we would love to 
know you. Would you call us? There would always be a welcome 
for you. Thank you again and God bless you. 

Mrs. P 

Later: the Same Mother: 

We heard from the War Department that our "F " passed 

away. We are all so broken-hearted about it. He fought so hard to 
come back to us as he had everything to live for and we all loved 
him so much. I have just come back from Cornwall where I have 
been with (his fiancee) to break the news. I am so sorry for her. 
It is so much worse when one is away from home and one's people. 

Your letter helped me. I understood that "F " did not know he 

was dying and had a peaceful death. We sat here and imagined all 
sorts of things until your letter came. All we got from the War 
Office was his death certificate which nearly knocked us all silly for 
a time. Will you, dear, thank the doctors and nurses for all they 
did to keep "F " with us. We thank God we knew everything 
possible was done for him to come back to us. As our prayers were 
not answered, God needed him most, but even that doesn't stop this 

dreadful heartache. Everybody that knew "F " loved him. We did 

so want him back. Would you like a photograph of him? If so, I 
would love to send you one so that you can see what a nice face 
he had before he was burned. We will always make you welcome 
if you come to call. 

If "F " ever asked me to do anything or ever spoke about any- 
thing he would have liked done, would you let me know. I would 
be ever so grateful to you. He was my baby and I loved him so 
much, but I would never have liked him to come back an invalid. 
He would never have stood up to it. Please God he is happy. I do 
hope to get news where he is buried so I can get to see his grave 
as soon as possible. I suppose it sounds rather silly, but when I am 

at our place by the sea on the cliffs, I feel I am much nearer "F ." 
I suppose it is because his body is on the other side of the sea. We 
all get funny ideas in our head sometimes, but I know you will un- 
derstand. Thank you for all you have done for my "F " and for 
your kindness to me. God bless you and all the best of everything. 

Mrs. P 


Chapter V1I1 


"The American Red Cross has made an outstanding 
contribution to the high morale of the soldiers in the 
China Burma India Theater. Its ceaseless efforts put 
forth in conjunction with the Special Service work of 
the Army have helped to provide a wholesome diver- 
sion for the soldiers from their rigorous and exacting 
war duties. Throughout its work in hospitals, recrea- 
tion centers, canteens, and other activities, the Red 
Cross has done much to fill the void in the lives of the 
fighting men who are thousands of miles from their 
homes and loved ones. . . ." 


Commanding General, United States Army 

Forces in China, Burma and India. 





assigned to the China-Burma-India theaterarrived on May 16, 
1942, at Karachi on the west coast of India. 

They found Karachi overcrowded, rowdy, and boisterousa 
town with a distinctive international flavor, yet reminiscent of the 
early American frontier. The U.S. Tenth Air Force fighters, 
bombers and ground crews shared the KaracM airport, largest in 
India, with the Royal Air Force. Army Services of Supply engi- 
neers, port and quartermaster battalions, composed of mixed Negro 
and white troops were also stationed in the ancient town. Min- 
gling with American soldiers in Karachi's streets were American 
sailors and merchant seamen, and seamen of many United Nations, 
who had brought precious lend-lease cargoes safely through sub- 
marine-infested waters. Warehouses were jammed to the roof with 
the vital stuff (and with about 800 tons of American Red Cross 
China Relief stocks) intended for shipment over the Burma Road to 
hard-pressed China. And along the water front there was confu- 
sion, which the engineers and port battalions sought to clear. The 
docks were piled high with trucks, ammunition, small arms, artillery 
pieces, fuel, and other materiel, while out in the harbor lay scores of 
ships waiting to be unloaded, with additional war cargoes. 

The congestion at Karachi (and at Bombay and other ports of 
western India) was the aftermath of Japan's lightning campaign in 
southeastern Asia. Within three months after Pearl Harbor, Hong- 
Kong, Singapore, and the Netherlands Indies had fallen to the 
enemy. Thailand, having joined Japan's so-called "Greater East 
Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere," served as a springboard for the inva- 
sion of Burma in mid- January, 1942. Rangoon, Burma's chief ports 
the docks and warehouses of which were similarly overcrowded 
with China-bound stocks, was pounded repeatedly by Japanese 
planes. When it was finally abandoned by its British garrison early 
in March, 1942, Rangoon was a shambles. By a diversionary action, 
Lieutenant General StilwelTs Fifth and Sixth Chinese Annies saved 
this garrison from annihilation as it fought its way northward 
toward India through the Japanese lines. 

From then on the story in Burma was one of continuous re- 
treat for the British and Chinese forces and the few Americans 
who had come to work on the Burma Road. As the Allies grew 
weaker, the Japanese, reinforced and supplied by air, sea, and 

constantly increased in strength. They outmanned, outgunned, and 
outmaneuvered the Allied forces, whom General Stilwell himself 
characterized as "a piecemeal ragtag and bobtail affair." They em- 
ployed the same tactics that had proved so successful in Malaya 
and the Netherlands Indiesinfiltration and flanking movements 
well adapted to this rugged terrain. Moreover, they ruled the air- 
ways. The Flying Tigers and RAF squadrons fought heroically 
and took a heavy toll of Japanese formations but, with the odds 
against them, could not materially affect the outcome. In all Burma 
there was not a single antiaircraft gun, according to General Stilwell. 

The retreating troops salvaged what supplies they could use and 
tried to destroy the remainder, but a not inconsiderable quantity 
fell into enemy hands. With the loss of Lashio at the head of the 
Burma Road on April 30, and of Mandalay several days later, Bur- 
ma's doom was sealed. Fleeing British and Chinese troops and 
civilian refugees were pushed into a pocket in northwestern Burma. 
From there thousands of them were rescued by air in RAF and 
U.S. Army planes. For the rest, escape lay in plodding across the 
mountainous jungles into India, subsisting on food dropped by 
parachute from Allied planes. 

General Stilwell, who had refused a plane, led one of the retreat- 
ing columns out of Burma starting from Wuntho, on May 4. It 
was a mixed group of soldiers, nurses, and civilians Americans, 
Britons, Burmese, Chinese, Indians, and Anglo-Indians. Among them 
was Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave of the American Baptist Mission, who 
subsequently became famous through his book, Burma Surgeon. 
Another was Major Frank D. Merrill, who was to return to north- 
ern Burma two years later and crack the Japanese positions there 
wide open with his fabulous "Merrill's Marauders." 

At the end of a grueling twenty-day trek that brought him to 
Imphal in the India border country, General Stilwell flew into 
New Delhi. Wearing his old-fashioned campaign hat, khaki trou- 
sers, and a shirt without the three stars of his rank, he was still the 
redoubtable "Uncle Joe." Of the Burma campaign, he said: 

"I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and 
it is humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused 
it, go back, and retake it." 

By June, India, Allied supply base for blockaded China, and base 
of operations for any offensive into Burma, was herself in imminent 
danger of invasion. Rommers Afrika Korps had swept across the 
Libyan-Egyptian desert to threaten the Suez Canal and India's 
northern border. At the same time powerful Japanese forces were 
poised on her eastern border. Overhead enemy squadrons ranged 

far and wide bombing Calcutta and other mainland targets. The 
Andaman Islands off the Bay of Bengal were occupied, while in 
the bay itself a formidable Japanese task force had closed Calcutta: 
and other East Indian ports to Allied shipping. The burden of 
supplying India's and China's needs was shifted to Karachi and 
other ports along the west coast. 

This was the military situation, then, as the small American Red 
Cross staff tackled the staggering job that lay ahead. 

This pioneer staff consisted of the following: field director- 
Porter C. Layne, Louisville, Kentucky; assistant field directors- 
Tim H. Kirk, Chicago, Illinois, and Richard B. Eldridge, New York 
City; hospital workers-Alice A. Todd, North Attleboro, Massa- 
chusetts; Jeannette Ross, Bloomington, Illinois; Beatrice M. Lynch, 
Mason City, Iowa; and Mrs. Lois Nickerson, Indianapolis, Indiana; 
secretary Dorothy Ann Martin, Louisville, Kentucky. 

While the rest of the staff set up shop in Karachi, Kirk, who 
later became assistant director of operations in the China-Burma- 
India theater, flew to Chungking for an interview with General 

General Stilwell told Kirk the Army faced an acute morale 
problem that would become aggravated with expanding military 
operations. Well aware of the great need for Red Cross services, 
Stilwell suggested that Kirk visit as many of the Army posts and 
stations as possible, survey the needs, and report them to Red 
Cross National Headquarters in Washington. 

Kirk's survey, and the specific requests of General Stilwell and 
his unit commanding officers, eventually led to the development of 
a sound Red Cross program closely integrated with the Army 
program and adapted to the peculiar needs of the Qiina-Burma- 
India theater. But the path was rough and beset by innumerable 
obstacles and heartbreaks. 

The major problems all related to the great distances to be cov- 
ered. China-Burma-India was the largest theater of action in the 
global war. It stretched from the Arabian Sea on the west to the 
Bay of Bengal and the heart of Free China on the far east; from 
the Indian Ocean and Ceylon on the south, northward to 10,000 
feet or more up into the Himalayas, and to the border of Asiatic 
Russia. Red Cross personnel and supplies had to come halfway 
around the world, and Red Cross installations at Army posts and 
stations were dispersed over an area greater than that of the United 
States. Communications were difficult; the mails were often slow, 
and the telephone of little use except locally. Transportation by 
rail was painfully slow, frequently involving transfer from standard 


to narrow gauge tracks; a train journey that in the States might 
have been made in a day required five days in India. Air travel, 
when available, often involved days of waiting at stopovers where 
backlogs necessarily took precedence. 

The original staff at Karachi formed the nucleus of an organiza- 
tion that by August 31, 1944, numbered 532 trained, efficient work- 
ers, aided by volunteers and locally employed natives. It required 
perfect health, stamina, and intestinal fortitude to tackle the rugged 
assignments that fell to Red Cross workers, men and women, in this 
part of the world. 

First of all, there was the climate: 

One year ago [said Tim EL Kirk] if someone had tried to 
explain to me how hot it was in India, I would not have had the 
background to understand what they were talking about. For, 
until one has experienced the intensity of the heat in this country 
it is impossible to comprehend what heat means. This sun does 
not burn nor blister as it does in the States. But when one is in it 
for a few minutes he feels as though he has been inoculated with 
a lethargy serum which absolutely stifles ambition. 

In contrast to the heat, there is one area held down by Ameri- 
can troops where during the monsoon season more rain falls 
than on any other section of the world between 400 and 500 The tiuts in which the soldiers live are propped up on 
sticks anywhere from eighteen inches to eight feet off the rain- 
soaked earth. All leather goods mildew. Trunks and valises con- 
taining dothing and personal belongings are stacked on bricks 
off the floor to prevent mildew. Ants, crickets, termites, weevils 
and other pests find their way into valises no matter how se- 
curely locked. During the monsoon season the recreation problem 
is enormous. It is difficult to keep Red Cross clubs attractive be- 
cause the floor is too damp for rugs and carpets, while chairs 
and other furniture fall apart as the lumber rots. And outdoor 
sports are impossible because the grounds are pools of water. 

The heat, the rains, and the prevalence of tropical diseases re- 
sulted in nearly ten per cent of all Red Cross club workers being 
hospitalized at one time. Some clubs reported a higher percentage 
of malaria victims. Illness caused burdens to be shifted to the re- 
maining staff workers, who ran chances of breaking under the 
added strain. 

The burden of maintaining the spirit of America's fighting men 
in this theater fell heaviest on the Red Cross girls, who far out- 

numbered the men on the staff. In the fall of 1942 the Red Cross 
assigned four young women to clubs in Karachi, New Delhi, Assam, 
and China. They did their work so successfully that commanding 
officers of many other posts and stations clamored for Red Cross 
girls. National Headquarters assigned a steady stream of them to 
this theater, but the demand could not be filled adequately. One 
result ^ was that Red Cross workers stretched themselves thin and 
sometimes overtaxed their strength. Yet they stuck to their jobs. 
One of them, Lillian Stevens, of Santa Monica, California, a hospital 
worker, had to be dragged out of Chakulia after she had lost twenty 
pounds.^ A rest brought her back on her feet, and as hospital con- 
sultant in crafts she made an outstanding record. 

Walking about in GI shoes, mud-caked boots and coveralls, a 
Red Cross girl lost her individuality, though not necessarily her 
femininity. Wherever she served she was part of the military estab- 
lishment, sharing the discomforts and privations of the soldiers. 
She washed out of an inverted helmet bowl and bathed under an 
open-air makeshift shower. Cosmetics taken for granted by Ameri- 
can womencold cream, lipstick, and rouge were out of reach. 
Such civilian clothing as she was able to bring in her foot locker, 
hoarded for special occasions, showed the scars of war. Dresses 
could not hold tip under the rock pounding and heavy charcoal 
ironing of the local dhobi y or laundryman. Her only girdle was 
chewed to tatters by crickets. She had to go stockingless how 
could she wear something that long ago had succumbed to climate, 
ants, and various other vicious insects? She made her way about 
(when she could thumb a ride) in a jeep, weapons carrier, or Army 
truck. Powder room? Call it that if you will-that small, lantern- 
lit mud hut at the end of the pebbly lane. Except for the Satur- 
day night dance at the Red Cross club, there was no night life 
in a jungle clearing in India. The darkness hid lurking danger in 
the form of a cobra, scorpion, or that deadliest of snakes, the banded 
krait, whose venom was known to cause death in a matter of 
minutes. And from the neighboring jungle came weird noises made 
by animals and tree life with names found only in the encyclo- 
pedias; and the rhythmic beat of head-hunters' drums. 

A favorite GI quip was, "Who boosts Red Cross morale when 
it is low?" Red Cross workers smilingly met this question by point- 
ing to the metal shield on their uniform which read: "Military 
Welfare." These young women had an important job to do in 
India. They knew that here, so very far from loved ones, the 
American soldiers were starved for home. Not just Seattle or 
Padueah, Wilkes-Barre or Raven Run, but any part of their be- 

loved United States was home to them. It was the duty of the Red 
Cross girls to supply a touch of home a breath of America. Merely 
being where a man back from the Hump could see an American 
girl's face was a substantial part of that job. It was not only the 
wonderful job done by Red Cross workers, but the manner In 
which they did it that over and over again called forth the praise 
of commanding officers. 

"The progress the American Red Cross has made during the past 
year," wrote Major General Clayton L. Bissell, commanding the U.S. 
Tenth Air Force, "is truly miraculous, and possible only because of 
the untiring efforts of every man and woman in the organiza- 
tion " 

And Brigadier General W. H. Holcombe, deputy commanding 
general of U.S. Army Services of Supply, wrote; "The Services 
of Supply, and all those engaged in its various activities, are deeply 
conscious of the generous help and cooperation which we receive 
from the members of the Red Cross. We greatly appreciate your 
assistance in this important task of maintaining a high standard of 
morale among our men." 

From the very outset the Red Cross laid emphasis upon Its work 
in the forward areas, where nearly two-thirds of its workers, mostly 
women, were assigned. Throughout these areas were clubs, can- 
teens, and mobile units, as well as hospital workers and field direc- 
tors. Wherever the American soldier was stationed, whether in 
the H5~degree heat of the plains at Agra, India, or at the almost 
inaccessible jungle air-warning outposts, or relaxing in the Army 
rest camps 10,000 feet up in the Himalayas, the Red Cross was at 
his side. 

In India's ports of entry the Red Cross operated day rooms and 
reception centers for U.S. Navy, troop transport, and Merchant 
Marine personnel. As of September, 1943, the Red Cross had 
equipped 235 Army recreation centers which the organization had 
furnished and operated in various parts of the CBI. Some were set 
up in bashas and some in single or double tents. The majority had 
bamboo floors, the remainder brick, cement, slag, wood, or plain 
dirt floors. 

In Calcutta the Red Cross maintained two luxurious clubs, one 
of them for Negro troops. Both provided lodging, meals, and en- 
tertainment to America soldiers on leave. 

Leave-area clubs, so prominent a feature in other theaters, were 
a small part of the Red Cross program in the China-Burma-Indk. 
Few leaves were granted by the Army, and passes were discouraged 

because in all India there were only two or three cities which had 
facilities to satisfy soldiers on leave. 

The emphasis was on "on-post clubs" to meet the Army's policy 
of keeping its personnel on their stations. Near-by villages offered 
no recreational outlets whatever, and generally were out of bounds 

When building materials and equipment began arriving in suffi- 
cient quantities from the United States, Army Services of Supply 
built standard-type on-post club buildings and furnished the equip 
rnent. The Red Cross staffed them and operated them. Unlike the 
day rooms and recreation centers, these on-post clubs were sub- 
stantial structures built of permanent materials. A typical club 
provided a game room equipped with tables for billiards and ping- 
pong, cards, dominoes, dtiess and checkers. The main room accom- 
modated 250 soldiers, relaxed in easy chairs and sofas. This lounge 
with the comfortable appearance of home had a piano, radio set, 
and phonograph. There was also a library-and-writing room with 
good lighting, easy chairs, writing tables, books, magazines, and 
stationery. Wherever possible, floors were laid with rugs, and 
chintz curtains hung at the windows. Most of the clubs were lo- 
cated at or near airfields. After a long day in the jungle, or after 
a grueling mission over the Hump, the most treacherous air route 
in the world (between India and China), this little oasis in the 
jungle gave a man a real lift. 

The GFs named the clubs themselves in contests. Some of the 
winning names were: "Monsoon Inn, 5 ! "Tiger's Den," "The 
Hangar," "Java Jive," "The Last Resort," "Raider's Roost," "Sad 
Shack," "Gremlin Hall," "Duration Den," and "Tail Wind." The 
name of the on-post club at the Field Artillery Training Center, 
Kunming, China, was "Stable For Wheel Horses." 

The soldiers took a real pride in the appearance of their clubs. 
GI artists helped with the color scheme and painted murals. And 
there were always soldiers who stayed behind after a dance to help 
rearrange the furniture, sweep the floor, or empty ash trays, so 
the club would look tidy until the native sweepers got to work. 

Every on-post club had its snack bar where the boys sought a 
variation from the dull diet of canned meats and corned willy. Be- 
cause of transportation difficulties, however, occasionally a snack 
bar could offer nothing more than corned willy. One ingenious Red 
Cross worker met the crisis in her canteen by running it through 
a meat grinder and mixing it with pickle, Worcestershire sauce, 
salt, and pepper. And the boys raved about the "pickled ham" 
sandwiches! Hamburgers, the most popular item on the menu, were 


made out of bullock beef slaughtered and inspected by the U.S. 
Army Quartermaster Corps. This meat, the only kind available In 
a country where the cow was sacred, had to be beaten and pounded 
to make it edible at all. Wherever possible the Red Cross introduced 
such luxuries as chocolate, cake, and chicken sandwiches in its 
snack bars, canteens, and restaurants. Greens for sandwiches and 
salads were often grown in Red Cross victory gardens. 

Running canteens in a land where food was scarce, native cus- 
toms were strange, and cooking facilities difficult to obtain, en- 
gendered many headaches for the Red Cross staff. The Red Cross 
had a training school for canteen managers, workers, cooks, and 
bearers, who were taught how to prepare and serve American 
menus. The results were not always satisfactory. At one post the 
Red Cross girl obtained two field stoves from die Army and con- 
sidered herself mighty lucky. The native cook's reaction was less 
enthusiastic. After putting up with them for two or three days, the 
cook went out into the garden and built himself a native oven, a 
pyramid-shaped affair of brick and sand with a sheet of tin for a 
door and using green wood for fuel. Frequently native cooks for- 
got their American Red Cross training and slipped back into native 
cooking habits with the result that their dishes always had that in- 
evitable curry-rice flavor. 

Some clubs tried to introduce native dishes as a novelty, but the 
GFs turned up their noses at them. That they really desired and 
craved American menus was evidenced by the interest they took 
in the club kitchens. This was true particularly of Army mess 
sergeants, who in their free hours helped Red Cross workers plan 
menus, supplied recipes, and offered tips to native cooks on how 
to bring out the flavor. In the China clubs, they taught Chinese 
cooks how to prepare chow mein and chop suey that in America 
had long passed for Chinese dishes. 

Recreation programs at the on-post clubs varied with the climate 
in which they were located. For example, at "The Hangar," a club 
in the "dust bowl" area of Central India where the temperature 
would rise to 125 degrees, the troops had little desire for outdoor 
or indoor athletic activity. They preferred sedentary games, or 
just sitting near a fan or a "desert cooler" which brought 'the 
temperature down to 90 or 85 degrees, and sipping cool drinks 
in the snack bar. 

^ Outdoor recreation was primarily the responsibility of the Spe- 
cial Services branch of the Army, but here, too, the Red Cross 
with its personnel trained as specialists in recreation and with its 
ability to buy recreation equipment on the Indian market, per- 

formed a valued service. By the summer of 1943 a pattern of Red 
Gross-Special Service co-operation was developed. In each area 
Its mainspring was a Special Service officer's council composed of 
one noncommissioned officer from each unit in the area, the Spe- 
cial Service officer, the Red Cross field director, and the program 
director of the Red Cross on-post club. The field director was in a 
position to uncover specialized interests and latent talents. He 
brought them to the attention of the Special Service officer and 
the council, who used them to map the post's sports activities. 
Every form of sport, it was found, could be played in teams and 
tournaments. Leagues were organized, and keen interest in inter- 
area competition developed. Club program directors co-ordinated 
their activities with those of the council. The small organized games, 
such as ping-pong, were held at the club, and the awarding of prizes 
to winners was made a special event followed by a dance or an in- 
formal supper. 

Many of the U.S. Army posts were ringed with jungles and 
mountains where wild game abounded. Red Cross field directors 
took advantage of this environment to arrange hunting parties. 
"Big game is available if you like," reported one field director from 
his post. "A native was killed and three injured by a leopard dur- 
ing the clearing of the site for the camp." 

One Red Cross club attached to a bomber base sent out a weekly 
safari into the near-by jungles. The best hunting hours were found 
to be from dusk to dawn, as the big game did not emerge from 
their haunts before midnight or thereabouts. The safari used jeeps, 
scout cars, and tracks instead of the elephants of the maharajahs. 
The technique involved driving through the tangled brash and 
moving the spotlight slowly from side to side. The noise of the car 
startled the game, and the light caught their eyes as they looked up. 
That gave the hunters their target. Upon returning from the hunt, 
the GI's would stop at the Red Cross club for a cup of hot coffee. 

An account of a big game hunt appeared in the ARC Light, a 
little paper of the American Red Cross in the CBI. Here it is: 

Big game hunting in India may once have been the sport of 
Maharajahs. But the American GFs are rapidly "taking over." 
Six potential "Frank Bucks," Sergeant Robert Marlar, of Carlsbad, 
New Mexico; Pfc Joseph H. Beaman, Walstonburg, North Caro- 
lina- Sergeant Robert F. Hearell, Kilgore, Texas; S/Sergeant 
Wesley E. Davis, Okmulgee, Oklahoma; Sergeant Robert Jau- 
man, Akron, Ohio; and Corporal Jeff Isbell* Houston, Texas, all 
members of a bomb squadron, spent 10 days hunting recently* 


The group penetrated the Himalaya mountains to a height of 
10,000 feet in search for game, living in native huts all the way, 
doing their own cooking and living oif the animals they shot. 
That their table was well-stocked is proved by the account of 
their hunting prowess. They shot a 5oo~pound Himalayan bear,, 
a 400-pound wild boar, a man-killing hyena, and a 6oo-pound 
deer. The hyena is thought to be one which had been terrorizing 
the neighborhood for some weeks, having killed several natives. 

The safari, in addition to the GFs, included sixty-one beaters 
and bearers. These were supplied through the local Maharajah, 
All details of the hunt were arranged at the request of two Ameri- 
can Red Cross field directors. 

The head-hunter was a native called Nabi Akthar. When the 
group reached his native village, they were guests at a special 
feast, consisting of roast duck, rice pudding and sugar cane. The 
banquet took place on a platform surrounding the sacred Peepul 
tree in the center of town. A tribal drum dance was given as 

Panther squawls kept the party awake at night, and they killed 
one cobra that came into camp. There were many "flukes" dur- 
ing the trip, adding much to the fun. Once, on sighting a bear, 
one soldier became so excited he pumped thirty shots before he 
hit it. Another GI was so well camouflaged that a deer nearly 
ran him down. 

Worst part of the trip, they agree, was the shave which a 
native gave them after the hunt was over. He took their eight- 
days' growth of beard off with a straight razor and no lather. 

In appreciation of the good hunt, the boys are buying Akthar, 
who is stone-deaf, an amplifying device to improve his hearing. 

Arranging social and entertainment events in each Red Cross 
on-post club was the responsibility of the program director aided 
by a committee of enlisted men. 

Every club had its improvised acts. For their casts they drew 
upon talented GFs on the post, and for their songs, sketches, and 
jokes upon local doings and personalities. Hump Happy, a fast- 
moving two-act musical comedy that entertained in camps all over 
the CBI, grew out of programs at the "El Digaboo" club in Dibru- 
garh, Assam. Its cast of twelve were radio operators, mechanics, 
and office clerks who were relieved of duty. Because of the long 
distances, the Hump Happy cast traveled entirely by air, rehearsing 
en route in the cabin of their big DC-}. 

"The Swing Patrol," another well-known band and entertain- 

ment unit on the CBI circuit, first blew its blues in the Red Cross 
KG A Hall, Karachi, in July, 1942. When they played for the 
troops, jitterbugs filled the aisles and tattooed the benches with 
rhythm. Captain Melvyn Douglas, the movie actor, accompanied 
"The Swing Patrol" as Special Service officer. 

To bring good books to on-post clubs and other installations, 
the Red Cross set up a circulating library in Calcutta with Mrs. 
Anne-Morris Innes as librarian. It had thirty thousand books; some 
were purchased in India, some came over from the United States 
as gifts from the Victory Book campaign, and it included a val- 
uable reference library received from Army Special Services. A 
list of titles was supplied to all clubs and hospitals. From this list 
the servicemen ordered their books. Their requests represented a 
remarkable range of interest and taste. Taking account of the 
climate and its effect on paper and binding, Mrs. Innes sent her 
books in specially-constructed steel trunks, each unit holding 150 
books. Having built-in shelves which protected books from dust, 
dampness, worms, mold, and moths, the trunks served as book 
cases when set up in the club library rooms. The books themselves 
were shellacked to prolong their life, and when they came back 
from the field damaged, they were salvaged in a small bindery. 

Magazines and newspapers were supplied by the Red Cross and 
Special Services. 

Before the Army had accumulated enough building materials and 
equipment, it was sometimes necessary for Red Cross workers to 
build their own clubs from the ground up. And they met the chal- 
lenge to their pioneering instincts admirably. Mary Jane Arnold, 
of Quincy, Illinois, was typical of these pioneers. Upon* arrival 
at her station in the forward area of Assam, she found that her club 
existed on paper only. Cement and brick were lacking, and so 
were bricklayers. So she went house-hunting, and after four days 
acquired a battered old basha^ whose roof thatch had been blown 
away and whose bamboo walk were losing their plaster. 

From the Army Quartermaster's she obtained a pair of coveralls, 
and went to work. Having a rudimentary knowledge of designing, 
acquired at an art school and applied in designing hats for her mil- 
linery business in Quincy, Mary Jane Arnold drew plans for her 
Red Cross club. The hundred-foot shell was divided into three 
sections by arched partitions, one section for the snack bar, one for 
the library, and the third for the lounge. Native laborers did the 
heavy repair work under her supervision, and a couple of GFs 
whom she had drafted covered the ceiling with muslin to keep 
bugs and snakes from falling through the xoof thatch, and sprayed 


the celling and walls with blue and white paint. The materials 
came from the Quartermaster's. And the furniture was hand-made 
by natives in the village. 

Red Cross on-post club openings were gala events, as Elsa Adri- 
enne Moore, of Portland, Oregon, one of the Red Cross club 
workers, tells: 

The opening of a Red Cross on-post club in the wilds of India 
is a big thing, important enough for eight of us girls from "big 
city headquarters'* to fly 300 miles to attend. 

We loaded ourselves down with boxes of cakes from the ware- 
house, piled onto the springless benches of a lumbering six-by- 
six truck and were off for the airport in the heat of midday. 

Out on the field our plane, Jeanie the Swine, spread her olive 
drab wings over the field, her nose in the air. The personal plane 
of the area's commanding officer, Jeanie was a wonder equipped 
with a daybed, eight seats, icebox and lavatory. 

It took an hour and a half, flying northeast at 7,000 feet, to 
reach the 6,ooo-foot concrete runway that marked our destina- 
tion. An Army truck carried us to the club, which stood in the 
middle of the mud and brick barracks, looking for all the world 
like an Anne Hathaway cottage with its high chimney, tall-gabled 
roof and heavy rice-straw thatch. It had a building-length 
screened porch in front, from which opened the lounge, game 
room and a library. From the lounge, at the rear, opened the 
snack bar, with high stools, a counter and small tables. Off this 
were the pantry and kitchen. 

Inside the club the boys were milling about. The family of 
the Maharajah of Cooch Behar had just arrived, also by plane. 
His sister was holding court in one end of the lounge, telling 
fortunes to impressed GFs. A bulking sergeant came up to her 
with an open book. 'Would you mind signing your autograph, 
princess?" he said. The princess smiled and signed. Flowers from 
the palace gardens banked the tables, 

At the tea not only GFs but post officers were present, taking 
advantage of the club's hospitality for perhaps the only time. The 
club is to be a strictly GI affair. That night at supper the mess 
hall held more women than ever before in its history. 

The dance that followed was something never to be forgotten 
--thirteen girls and 300 men. We danced with ten or fifteen men 
m the course of one number. 

^ During the evening the club was presented to the command- 
ing officer, Major William Hinton, by Zenas Crawford, tlie Red 


Cross field director resident on the post. The CO. in turn gave 
the club to the enlisted men, represented by T/Sergeant Robert 
L. Gregory, of Omaha, Nebraska. The club name, invented by 
Sergeant John C Buck of Owensboro, Kentucky, was also an- 
nounced Tee Hat, or Okay Club. But for us girls the evening 
meant music and more music and the continual swirl to Lieuten- 
ant Donovan B. Moore's orchestra. Like us, the orchestra had 
been flown in. 

How does an on-post club opening look to one of the soldiers? 
The answer was supplied by Corporal R. H. Becker, attached to a 
bomb squadron in eastern India in a letter to his parents in Katonah 
New York: * 

Dear Folks: 

I wouldn't be at all surprised if most of the boys have had some- 
thing to write home about the past week or so, A week ago 
Sunday evening was the grand opening of our new Red Cross 
recreation center here on the post, and take it from me, It really 
is something. For anyone who has been in India, it is hard to 
visualize such a place existing in the jungle. When I walked into 
the building it nearly took my breath away. We knew we were 
going to have a new club, but no one expected 'anything as grand 
as what we have, 

It is complete in every detail-all for the comfort and pleasure 
of the enlisted men at this particular base. The main auditorium 
or lounge is decked out with nice Indian-made furniture, electric 
fans, radio, record player and table lamps similar to a country 
club back home. There is also a reading and writing room with 
individual desk lamps; a fair-sized game room fully equipped; 
and last, but not least, a canteen and snack bar which is proving 
most popular. All in all it is a swell layout and something I feel 
sure is appreciated by every man on the post. 

I personally feel that we fellows are greatly indebted to the 
American Red Cross for a grand place to spend our leisure hours. 
They are really a great organization and doing a swell job of 
keeping us up to snuff and raring to go. 

Saturday night we had our first dance at the new club and it 
was a gala affair. Of course, there weren't enough gals to go 
around, but those who were present really got a good work out. 
I was fortunate in having a couple of nice dances with two of 
die Red Cross charmers stationed here. There are five of them 
and a more regular bunch of gals it woulcj be hard to find any- 


where. The feminine touch is just what the club needed to give 
It that homey atmosphere. In other words, it was just like a 
Saturday night dance at any club back home or just a wee bit 
of America right here in the heart of far away India. 

Well, folks, I know I've written about nothing but the club, 
but right now that's the topic on everyone's tongue over here. 

As Allied military operations in the CBI moved eastward toward 
the Burma front, the number of patients in American hospitals in- 
creased. Virtually every general, station, and evacuation hospital 
in the theater was staffed by Red Cross hospital workers supple- 
menting the work of doctors and nurses with recreation and social 
work. Many of the Red Cross hospital teams arrived directly from 
the United States with the hospital units to which they were at- 

From "somewhere in India," Muriel B. Duncan, of Beverly Hills, 
California, a Red Cross hospital worker, sent this vignette: 

It doesn't look in the least like a hospital; no gleaming white 
marble, no smooth green lawns, no parking lot for gas-rationed 
autos, no rubber-tired carts, no well-lighted operating theatre, 
no starchy-white uniforms not even a sign reading, "Hospital 
Quiet Please." Planes landing and taking off swoop low over 
the thatched roofs of the one-story wards like restless birds in 
ceaseless flight. The noise of the generators beats through the 
bashst walls like the throbbing of some great heart and the jeeps 
and meat wagons [ambulances] rattling up the deeply-rutted 
roads sound as if they were loaded with empty tin cans. 

But don't get me wrong, my friends this is a hospital and 
what's more, it is a heavenly hospital. In army records it's listed 
as the Station Hospital. In army hearts, it's listed as a little bit 
of heaven. 

A station hospital is usually in or near a combat area. The 
field hospital gives emergency treatment near the front and then 
those courageous flying nurses of the evacuation unit bring the 
wounded, broken or badly-burned boys back to the station 

And the sheets are coarse here, so they'll stand up under the 
rock pounding of the dhobis and the blankets are the drab khaki 
of GI issue and the operating room is just a large bamboo hut 
with a thatch roof and doctors and nurses work with helmets 
and gas masks hanging nearby. But if you had been carried out 
of the mountains on the back of some guerilla with your broken 


legs uncared for for three days, or if some mischance sent you 
crashing to earth in a flaming ship or if that old devil appendix 
started raising Cain, brother, this place would look like an ivory 
palace to you. 

And as you got better, the inevitable canned corned willy 
would taste like ambrosia and the awful water of the Lister bag 
would be as nectar and the tired-faced girls in army brown or Red 
Cross gray would look like angels. 

And maybe you don't know how badly you're hurt and how 
awful you look. And as that Red Cross girl bends over your bed, 
her stomach is turning over inside her at the sight of your face 
with its lobster red burns and their ragged brown edges and that 
place where your eye should be. But she'll never let you know. 
She'll just say, "Is there anything you want, soldier?" And if you 
were that airman you'd say, "No. Just stay here and hold my 
hand awhile ma'am if you have time." And as you'd drift off to 
sleep, she'd hear you say, "Boy, is this heaven!" And this isn't 
just sentiment or emotion this is the truth. That's just what 
you'd say they all do. 

From her station in India, Alice A. Todd, of North Attleboro, 
Massachusetts, another hospital worker, wrote co-workers at Red 
Cross National Headquarters. In the following excerpts from her 
letter, Miss Todd describes her surroundings: 

Recreation here is rather difficult to manage for the patients. 
Some of the Indian types of entertainment seem rather slow to 
our boys. The Indian people are not as flexible as we are and 
conditions have to be pretty exact for them to cooperate. 

Through the doorway the biggest elephant ever seen just 
lumbered into view with a swing of one hoof, then a hitch and 
a rhumba. He has now joined the rest of a small circus which 
is putting on a performance the Red Cross arranged for the 
patients this afternoon. Just beyond the circus group are several 
dozen native men, women and children. The men, in bright- 
colored turbans (pink predominates this week) are digging the 
foundation for a new ward, and the women, in flowing saris 
.and full skirts of scarlet, gold, blue, red, orange, green, violet, 
yellow, purple, and combinations of these colors, are paddling 
back and forth, slowly and with dignity, poise and grace, balanc- 
ing on their heads rocks which probably some four men hoisted 
and placed there. 

In the foreground, groups of small children are playing and 

one baby Is swinging in a burlap hammock suspended from a 
pole. This is one solution of the problem of what to do with 
children while parents are at work. At one side two natives are 
filling their goat-skin bags with water before slinging them over 
their shoulders. 

In back of this group is a long parade of patients en route to 
the circustraveling by crutches, wheel chairs, walking, hob- 
bling, but all eager to get there in their GI maroon bathrobes. 
Now there is a mingling of summer khaki, GI maroon, vivid 
saris, and the white of the nurses* uniforms. This is too good to 
miss. I believe they need a bit of Red Cross gray and L, for one > 
shall hasten to project myself into the scene for a little while. 

It was interesting and, as usual, one of the most noticeable 
points about the show was the intensity of interest displayed by 
the patients. Added to this were several small boys and girls 
tenderly guarding smaller brothers and sisters, the latter group 
wearing only little blouses. All the children wear many earrings,, 
nose beads, anklets* necklaces, and bracelets. It is a little horrify- 
ing to watch flies promenade over the noses and eyes of little 
children. Our friend the elephant, not content with the usual 
dust blowing, is scooping some up in his trunk and tossing it 
over his shoulder in a superstitious manner (mayhap he is 
wishing at the same time). Now a donkey cart and camel wagon 
are passing by. 

Never do I fail to delight in the scenes here. En route to town 
we pass long camel caravans and sometimes we are fortunate 
enough to -see across the desert a long line of camels, heavily- 
laden, silhouetted against the sky at dusk. A few days ago a 
British soldier, in a playful mood, turned the head camel in. a 
caravan around so he would head back to town. The camel 
leader, asleep on the head camel, remained oblivious to this 
prank, and when last glimpsed the entire camel train was return- 
ing to town. 

Then there are many colorful and dirty goat-herders and their 
flocks; these make a vivid impression upon both the eye and 
the nose. 

Several days ago I had the pleasure of being a guest at a Parser's, 
wedding and invited some of the other Red Cross group also. 
Never have I seen such a splash of color saris of every hue, 
with gold and silver trimming y jeweled adornments, and the men 
in white suits buttoned up to die neck and crowned with little 
round felt brirnless hats. Never have I seen a more unusual cere- 
mony nor heard English more beautifully spoken. 


The bride and groom, each wearing garlands of flowers and 
carrying bouquets, were enthroned upon a flower-bedecked stage 
with the two mothers hovering anxiously in the background. The 
bride and groom were under constant fire of rice thrown at them 
steadily (they neither flinched nor ducked) for a period of 
twenty-five minutes by two chanting priests with voices pitched 
two and one-half tones apart. (I tried unsuccessfully for twenty- 
five minutes to determine which one was off key.) After the cere- 
mony, the bride's sister had to bathe the groom's feetthen the 
bride and groom visited the Fire Temple. The Parsees are a very 
high-caste group who came down from Persia long ago to evade 
religious persecution, like our Pilgrim Fathers. (They probably 
came by camel caravan rather than by Mayflower. Sometimes I 
wonder if they were able to bring as many ancestors and furni- 
ture as our forefathers did.) They worship fire as the emblem of 
divinity. They comprise a very wealthy, well-educated group, 
merchants and professional people. All 1,500 guests were served 
light refreshments while all awaited a seat at the table under the 
tent where a real feast was served on palm leaves. Only a handful 
of military personnel were invited and they were all Americans. 
It was a very colorful and interesting experience. We were 
cordially greeted and had seats of honor. 

All the little shops [in town] are interesting; each little flley 
has shops of one kind. The kitchenware, for instance, is easily 
located because tinwear hangs outside the door all up and down 
the alley. The next one is probably "tailors' row," all the sewing 
machines resting fiat on the floor. Meandering around are sacred 
cows, goats, children, beggars, FLIES. On the sidewalks people 
brew tea and serve it to their broods; they sleep everywhere, 
sidewalks, doorsteps, building ledges women sit on the sidewalk 
and do bead work on string attached to extended big toe; in fact, 
most of the functions of life take place on the sidewalks. One 
Sunday morning there were three natives sitting in a row not 
on the side of but in the street while three barbers trimmed their 
beards. It is thrilling to go to town and I never get tired of just 

The division of labor [caste system] has its amusing angle. 
For example, in the hotel one sweeps the floor, one dusts, one 
makes the beds, one scrubs the bathroom, etc. We refer to each 
as the lieutenant in charge of making beds, and so on. One day 
the slide bolt on the door refused to function. It was "finished." 
We reported it, and a little man, barefoot as they all are, in his 
flapping, draped, droopy drawers and long flapping shirt-tail, 


beturbaned, came with two big tools, products of the stone age. 
He hammered for half an hour. That accomplished naught. He 
departed and another one came with a little bag. Being the lieu- 
tenant in charge of removing the bolts, he removed the bolt. 
He was succeeded by the lieutenant in charge of cleaning the 
bathroom. You are right: privacy is obsolete in India. 

We are adapting ourselves to the very limited means of trans- 
portation and in town never cease to delight in the Hop, Mop 
of the horse and gharri [carriages] a la "Tales from Vienna 
Woods." I even rode one night eight miles through the desert 
"silvery moon and starlight" on camel back home from a party 
much to the delight of the entire camp and town. Nothing is 
sacred but cows and peacocks, so every move is known. 
We are all on the alert because we know that some day we 
are going to need every resource we have to face what will 
come and meet the emergencies that may arise. 


General Stilwell thought so highly of the morale value of Red 
Cross work in India that he requested Red Cross girls for China. 

For the "Java Jive" club at Chungking, every stick of furniture, 
including a piano, and the three Red Cross girls to staff it, were 
flown in on the same plane. 

"I don't believe it!" exclaimed a startled khaki-clad "grease 
monkey," as blond, petite Gerry Lennox, a former New York 
dancer, stepped from the plane. She was followed by Eleanor Llss,* 
of White Plains, New York, and Mrs. Alma B. Kerr, of Chicago, 

As the surprised and delighted GFs looked on, the three young 
women in their neat gray Red Cross uniforms went into head- 
quarters for an interview with General Stilwell. 

Then they rolled up their sleeves and set to work converting a 
former mess hall into an on-post club. And the boys pitched in to 
help them. When they unpacked the crates they were as happy as 
children around a Christmas tree. They found hand-made furniture, 
jute rugs, cotton curtains, games, party decorations, a piano, and 
the latest swing recordings of American name bands. The needle 
was started immediately. Chinese natives in passing rickshas were 
treated to the strange sight of husky American soldiers hanging 
curtains to Tommy Dorsey rhythms, and "cutting the rug" at the 
same time they were laying the jute rug on the floor. 

In a matter of hours this became one of the most inviting Red 
Cross clubs "this side of the Hump." For their formal opening, 
the three proud Red Cross girls had as their guests some of the 
most distinguished persons in Chungking. Major General Thomas 
G. Hearn, Chief of Staff of the China-Burma-India Command, 
brought official greetings from General Stilwell. General Shang 
Chen extended a welcome in behalf of the Chinese Government. 
There were talks also by Captain M. W. Miles, U.S. Navy; Briga- 
dier General William Bergin; and Colonel L. H. Chow, Chinese 
liaison officer with the U.S. Army. The keys to the club were pre- 
sented to Yeoman i/c Alexander G. Hardy, U.S.N., and Sergeant 
Joseph Lyons, the two men with the longest service in the theater. 

Some of the boys then got out the instruments that had been 
flown in with the piano and furniture, and played for dancing. 
With the Red Cross girls were a number of Westernized Chinese 
girls who had attended American schools and could lead the conga 

* Died of natural causes in India, June 8, 1944. 

line, and even swing out to jitterbug rhythm. And of course the 
snack bar served good coffee with sugar and cream, and doughnuts, 
cake, and cookies, which were devoured by soldiers and sailors who 
had had no "stateside" pastry in nearly two years. 

The Chungking club had many famous visitors. Mme. Sun Yat- 
sen, widow of the founder of the Republic of China, carne one 
day to invite six servicemen and a Red Cross worker to tea at her 
home Sunday afternoons. 

Former Vice-President Henry A. Wallace received a rare honor at 
this club during his mission to Chungking for the President in the 
spring of 1944. A signed document presented to him read as fol- 
lows: "Greetings! Be it known that the undersigned Enlisted Men 
of the U.S. Army in Chungking do hereby confer upon HENRY A. 
WALLACE the honorary degree of GI with Magna Ding Hao! When 
properly presented at any Red Cross club, said Henry A. Wallace 
is entitled to any and all privileges of GI's." 

What was it like the life of a Red Cross girl in China? This 
question was answered by Guida Richey, hostess of a Kunming 
on-post club, in a letter to her family in Knoxville, Tennessee: 

Dear Folks: 

You asked about my life as a Red Cross girl in China, where 
it's natural to be one girl in a group of several hundred men. 
Well, it's all topsy-turvy, but it's fun! 

I've learned to walk right into a GI mess hall and whistle 
right back at them without blinking an eye. I find myself classi- 
fied as "she can jitterbug," and honestly wish I could be a wall- 
flower. Every shift of hairdo, any change of dress is the topic 
of the day. And I remember how, at home, I used to be so pleased 
if my boy friend even noticed my new dress. 

I can climb down into a slit trench with my helmet and gas- 
mask and gaze upwards with comparative calm at a fleet of silver 
zeroes and big Jap bombers. But, I still inwardly curse myself 
for getting a panicky feeling from tummy to toe when some- 
one, in order to signal an air raid alert, sounds a gong I thought 
signaled only "Gas." 

Traveling from place to place is via jeep, truck or weapons 
carrier, and sometimes the grand loan of a sedan and driven 
Along the rocky, dusty road, we overtake bullock carts and the 
overladen miniature Chinese horses. When we drive through 
town, the townsfolk stare at a strange looking creature with hair 
that's yellow instead of black, eyes that are blue and don't bear 
the remotest resemblance to an almond. They are openly amused 


at my substantial size y's, in startling contrast to the women of 
"old China" teetering and tottering along on their incredibly 
tiny feet in gaily embroidered pixty-toes shoes. 

Ever so often I come upon a line of rickshas totin' a bunch 
of self-conscious looking GFs instead of the sailors of "Join the 
Navy and See the World" posters. They u ups" with their thumbs 
and shout "Ting hao" [O.K.] to the tiniest tike or the lowliest 
coolie . . then chuckle at the slit panty seats of the same tiny 

I share with the GFs the pangs of yearning for a glass of 
Grade A milk, and would almost trade my last bobby pin for 
a piece of chocolate. I can vaguely remember asparagus, roast 
beef, hot dogs and ice cream sodas. We all carry around a stack 
of bills that makes us look as rich as Croesus, but we don't have 
enough to pay the Chinese price for a good "stateside" fountain 

I wave and smile at every American lad I see (and wonder if 
when I get back home, my manner won't seem a trifle on the 
bold side). My bridge foursome is no longer "the girls," and I 
have learned that men gossip just as much as "the girls." I have 
complimented thousands of wives, sweethearts and chEdren as 
their pictures are displayed by some rightfully proud husband 
"feller" or father. 

IVe learned what it means to "sweat out" going home. I have 
talked to scores of men and "women who walked out of Burma. 
My heart has ached for the boy whose brother wrote that "she" 
didn't wait for him, and for the men I know, and the men I don't 
know, who go away and never come back. 

I have been surprised to learn the many purposes for which 
War Fund contributions to the American Red Cross go ... for 
hamburgers instead of chop-suey in the Red Cross club for 
soldiers, for a lounge room where they can sit and read or play 
games, for a dance, where four American girls augmented by a 
few Chinese volunteers supply a little color and gaiety in the 
lives of several hundred soldiers. 

Often I look back to the time when China and India were so 
far removed from my own horizon as to hardly be real. In those 
days, the contents of my mail box were a source of great in- 
terest, but not the key to my morale. Then, I didn't dream a 
house could be heated with charcoal, and that I'd learn to bank 
a fire better than the houseboy. I luxed my own then, and had 
never beard of an amah who knew die one English word 


"washee," and sprinkled clothes by "exploding" water through her 

I dream of water faucets yielding crystal-pure liquid (I used 
to let some of the icy cold drops trickle through my mouth as I 
took a shower). Now, I don't dare drink anything that isn't 

"Now, "snafu," "sad sack," "chow," "ting hao" [O.K.], 
"poo hao" [no good], and "ching pao" [air raid], are all part 
of my lingo. I know what it means when a flier "hits the silk" 
(I even have a piece of the filmy stuff for a scarf). I can recog- 
nize a "fogey" or a "gold bricker." A November newspaper 
from my hometown is still a treat in March. My Easter bonnet 
is my American Red Cross overseas cap which no longer looks 
quite so jaunty (oh, for a crisp straw number with a flower and 
a veil). I glibly say "Golden Gate by '48" with the rest of them, 
and Fm as fit a member of the United States Chamber of Com- 
merce as any overseas soldier and sailor. I dream of white tiles, 
candlelight that's just for beauty's sake, juke boxes, taxis and 
super highways, and of the day when "the hump" will once 
again be a camel's back, and not our lifeline. But, I'm as happy 
as I've ever been in my life, and I wouldn't trade places with 
any girl back home. 

In 1944 virtually all the American bases in unoccupied China- 
Kunming, Chungking, Chengtu, Kweilin, among othershad Red 
Cross clubs. Kunming, terminus of the air supply route and of the 
* Burma Road, had the first Red Cross installation in China. It was 
the "Victory Club," opened by dub Director Robert Drummond, 
on December i, 1942. During 1943 a number of temporary recrea- 
tion centers in Kunming were operated by Club Director Carl Ed- 
ward Scofield, of Winsted, Connecticut. Late in the following year 
they were replaced by one on-post club of which Beatrice De 
Costas, of Bath, Maine, was director, and one off-post club directed 
by Flora Jane Coutts, of Newport, Vermont. The "Stateside Inn" at 
Kweilin, one of the largest clubs in the entire theater, was aban- 
doned in the summer of 1944, shortly before the Fourteenth Air 
Force blew up its airfields and all the materiel and fuel that could 
not be evacuated. These measures were taken in the face of strong 
Japanese forces advancing on Kweilin, the great air base built by 
thousands of coolies. 

A steady stream of Red Cross workers was flown into China to 
keep pace with expanding operations. To feed, equip, and provide 
facilities for these workers, the Army spent at the rate of ten dollars 
1 60 

per pound for every item hauled by air over the Hump. Pianos, 
phonograph records, and miscellaneous equipment for Red Cross 
clubs that could not be purchased in China, together with the cloth- 
ing and personal articles required by the club workers, were flown 
in like bombs and gasoline. Could there be stronger evidence than 
this of the value which the Army attached to the Red Cross 

In many ways American servicemen were beneficiaries of the 
great prestige enjoyed by the American Red Cross in China, a pres- 
tige built up over a period of many years by the organization's 
China relief activities. For example, the name of the Red Cross was 
great enough to break down social customs centuries old. When 
the first Red Cross installations in Kunming were opened, dancing 
partners could not be obtained for Saturday night dances. As the 
number of young women (even among Westernized Chinese) who 
would dance with men, to say nothing of strange soldiers, was lim- 
ited, the prospects for Saturday night dances were not very good. 
Club workers went right into the homes of the better Chinese 
families, and over teacups argued that American soldiers were just 
like their brothers and, furthermore, that the dances were sponsored 
by the American Red Cross. The first to break down were married 
women who agreed to come if their husbands gave permission, but 
the husbands insisted upon tagging along as chaperons. Unmarried 
girls would not come at all in the beginning. 

Chinese peasants who . in the early days of the war looked upon 
American soldiers with detached curiosity greeted them every- 
where with enthusiasm in 1944. Grinning children gave them the 
"thumbs up" greeting and shouts of "Ting hao!" 

A story illustrating the warm appreciation of the Chinese for 
American airmen was brought to one of the Red Cross clubs. The 
four airmen who "walked out" of their plane to be rescued by 
Chinese were: Lieutenant E. C. Gassner, of Nashville, Tennessee; 
Lieutenant Kenneth Snowden, of Wayne, Ohio; Sergeant R. H, 
Phillips, of Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Pfc K W. Crews, of 
Monto, Virginia. 

"They were really good to us," Snowden said of their Chinese 

Whenever the Americans tried to buy a souvenir, the Chinese 
refused payment. Their guide would point to the merchant and 
explain, "It is a present that he wishes to give from him for you." 

Snowden showed a letter written in Chinese characters with an 
English translation, and signed by the magistrate, the secretary, 


the Middle School principal and the doctor of the village C -. 

The translation: 

Dear Gentlemen: 

We are pleased that at the dangerous yon were all well and 
reached our Chinese inland. We so glad to see yon and have the 
pleasure ask you to stay here some more days. 

But we are very sorry cannot treat you more comfortable so we 
hope that you will excuse us. 

Upon their departure, each man received a farewell gift, a carved 
marble inkwell for Chinese brush writing with the inscription: 
"Make fast the airplane to force our defence. We must fight to 
the enemies still them is bend their knees." 

Said Snowden, "The Chinese sentence is not constructed like 
ours. What this means is, *We must fight until the enemy bend 
their knees.' " 

This typified the spirit of a China struggling against insuperable 
odds. Major General Claire L. Chennault's Fourteenth Air Force 
the "forgotten airmen" of the war fought side by side with the 
Chinese. Against a far more numerous Japanese air force, they de- 
fended almost the entire area of Free China, while dropping bombs 
on the Yangtze River and on many Japanese-held ports and bases, 
as well as stabbing tirelessly for the jugular of the Japanese military 
system the sea routes between Japan and her conquered empire in 
the Pacific. 

It was to serve these brave airmen who did so well with so little 
that the American Red Cross was in China. But there were also- 
American Services of Supply units in China, and they too enjoyed 
Red Cross services. 

With the powerful support of the Fourteenth Air Force, some 
of these American units accompanied twenty thousand American- 
trained and -equipped Chinese troops under Marshal Wei Li-huang 
across the Salween River on a one-hundred-mile front in mid-May, 
1944. This full-fledged offensive was co-ordinated with the drive 
of Merrill's Marauders and Chinese columns under General Stil- 
well hammering at the Japanese in northern Burma from the Ledo 
Road. An immediate objective was a junction of the two drives. 
The long-range goal was the winning of a land route to bring 
heavy war equipment into China that would permit a military 
showdown with the Japanese Army. 



The China-Burma-India Command became the Southeast Asia 
Command at the August, 1943, Quebec Conference between Presi- 
dent Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. Admiral Lord Louis 
Mountbatten was made Supreme Commander and Lieutenant Gen- 
eral Stilwell second in command. 

It was generally believed that large-scale amphibious operations 
against the Japanese in this theater would follow soon after the 
conference. Plans made at Quebec, however, did not materialize. 
Instead, the landing ships and craft originally allocated to the South- 
east Command were used in the Anzio beach landings and subse- 
quently in the invasion of France, according to Admiral Mount- 

Recasting their plans "on a less ambitious scale," in the Admiral's 
words, he and General Stilwell decided: upon a campaign to drive 
the Japanese out of northern Burma and to reopen the Burma Road. 

To provide a route for the supply of the Allied forces in this 
campaign, the Ledo Road was built in 1943-1944. 
Starting at Ledo in northeastern Assam, India, the road runs 
through the Naga Hills in a generally southeasterly direction along 
the southern slope of the Himalayas. At the Burmese frontier it 
weaves in the same direction into the Hukawng Valley, held by 
the Japanese until they were dislodged by Merrill's Marauders. 
Through some of the world's densest jungles and across a series 
of mountain ranges, some of them a mile high, the Ledo Road dips, 
climbs, and zigzags to reduce the grade, follows old jungle paths 
here and there, and around ravines and mountain peaks narrows 
down, from three lanes to a width barely enough for two jeeps to 
pass each other without sideswiping. 

The barbaric beauty of the road was described by Stanley A. 
Haw 7< of Ottumwa,. Iowa, one. of the Red Cross field directors sta- 
tioned there: 

The scenery i$ the finest I have, ever seen. The country is steep 
and mountainous. The road rum like a ribbon around the tortu- 
ous hills. Everywhere is jungle green, with trees that are strange 
and new to me, many of them flowering. One that impressed me 
is a waxy-leafed magnolia type with great flaming flowers. All this 
colorful verdure contrasts with the brilliant earth* Usually the 
ground is sticky yellow clay, but at one point it is emerald green. 
And at a nearby pass it varies from de&p purple to red. The hills 
themselves are strangely twisted and distoited in their stratification* 


no two planes seeming to run in the same direction. The forests 
are alive with wild life. Besides the vermilion and yellow birds, 
and one blue and white which is my favorite, there is a variety 
of game leopards, deer, and tigers. 

I heard tigers at night but never saw one. The snakes also were 
interesting. Though I was on the road for many months, I only 
once saw a hooded cobra standing up and hissing at us as we drove 
by. Twice I saw 20-foot to 30-foot pythons. Both times -they were 
brought in by GIs after they had been killed. The men gave the 
skins to some colored troops, and the Chinese took away the meat 
and ate it. Eating snake meat is a regular habit among groups of 
local porters [gharos], the men who carried most of the loads 
forward from the 44-mile mark into the jungle. 

We had good food so we were not obliged to eat python. 
When we lacked meat, somebody went out and shot it, usually a 
deer or young buffalo. In the beginning it was a bit difficult, but 
now there is fresh meat at least three times a week on the road. 

Building the Ledo Road through this savage land was one of the 
engineering marvels of the global war. Army bulldozers, trucks,' 
jeeps, and rock crushers, transported 15,000 miles from the United 
States, did a wonderful job. But the human labor excited the most 
interest. The road was started in December, 1942, under command of 
Brigadier General John Arrowsmith, U.S. Army Engineers, and was 
carried to its farthest point in 1944 by Brigadier General Lewis A. 
fick, Under them worked American and Chinese engineering units, 
aided by Asiatic civilian laborers, including gharos from upper Ben- 
gal and subjects of the Maharajah of Nepal. In advance of the road 
builders went units of a Chinese Army force, trained and equipped 
by the U.S. Army in India, who prevented interference from Jap- 
anese patrols. 

Even before grading, surfacing, and drainage, U.S. Army motor 
convoys, driven by Negro soldiers, moved in a steady stream in both 

Among the U.S. Army units stationed at various points along the 
road, the Sz^rd and 45th Engineers, and the 45th and zist Quarter- 
master's were composed entirely of Negroes, except for officers. 
American Negroes, who far outnumbered white soldiers on the 
road, made a proud record. Red Cross workers said that they were 
cool, brave, and patient under extremely adverse conditions. In- 
evitably there were serious accidents. Skidding in the slippery mud 
was common (except for small stretches gf crushed-rock surface the 
Ledo was a dirt road). Some trucks failed to make the steep grade 

and overturned; some sideswlped each other. Occasionally a track 
could not negotiate a hairpin curve, left the road and crashed Into 
the bottomless gorge below. 

For truck drivers, road builders, and maintenance crews the Amer- 
ican Red Cross opened a roadside canteen at Ledo on June i, 1943. 
Doughnuts, coffee, and quick-lunch snacks were served. 

The idea was conceived by Margaret De Wolfe Erskine, of New 
York City, a recreation worker with the loth General Hospital. 
Temporarily detached from the hospital, she set up a large EPI 
(Egypt-Palestme-India) desert tent about fifty feet off the road, 
and furnished it with cane furniture. Native boys of the neighbor- 
hood, working as bearers and waiters, were dressed in patriotic 
colors white shirt, blue trousers, and red sash. On the first day 
seven hundred men were served. Later the number increased. Can- 
teen hours were from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. Closing time, however, was 
not the end of Miss Erskine's working day, as she spent an additional 
hour or two on book work and preparations for the next day's busi- 
ness. After four months, she was relieved by Star Giddy, of New 
York City. J 

The First Red Cross club in the Ledo area was opened at Alar- 
gherita, six miles below Ledo, in June, 1943. A two-story dak bunga- 
low, a type of roadhouse common in provincial India, was converted 
for the purpose. Serving twelve hundred soldiers a day, it was the 
largest Red Cross installation in Assam. Canteen and offices were on 
the first floor, clubrooms on the second. The settlement included 
bashas housing Red Cross staff quarters, kitchen, bakery, and tailor 
shop. There were three Dutch ovens in the yard. A clearing pro- 
vided space for outdoor games, such as volley ball, horseshoe pitch- 
ing and basketball. 

Nathan H. Kaufman, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was the first 
director of the Margherita club. Assisting him in the beginning 
were the following young women, all temporarily borrowed from 
the zoth (University of Pennsylvania) General Hospital: Ruth Peter- 
son, Peewaukee, Wisconsin; Bertha Carlson, Gary, Indiana; and Ann 
Townsend, Haverf ord, Pennsylvania. 

Carl Edward Scofield, transferred from China, succeeded Kauf- 
man as club director in January, 1944. He served during the period 
of Merrill's Marauders, when his aides were Dorothy H. Hubbell, 
New York City; Marion R. Broer, Northampton, Massachusetts; 
and Mary Brady, Woodmere, Long Island. Employed locally as can- 
teen manager, was Mrs. Joyce Matthews, an Englishwoman who, 
with her three small children, had hiked through the Burmese jungles 
to escape die Japanese forces; her husband, a railway official, had 


been killed by the Japanese in Rangoon. Mrs. Matthews trained six 
natives to cook and bake for the canteen. 

The Margherita club inaugurated a flourishing Red Cross pro- 
gram along the Ledo Road. Clubs like "The Burma Basha" and "The 
Road Block 77 names selected by the men themselves consisted of 
cane-built bashaSj constructed in a jungle clearing or set down on a 
mountaintop. Bright murals by GI artists, curtains made by Red 
Cross girls from damaged parachutes, and cane furniture woven by 
native craftsmen went a long way toward creating a touch of home. 

The club at Tagap Mile 85 was on one of the sites formerly 
occupied by Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave's Burma hospital. The one at 
Shingbwiyang Mfle 1 12 was in territory previously captured from 
the Japanese by Merrill's Marauders. The other principal clubs were 
at Loglai Mile 56 and at Ting Kawk Sakan Mile 135. Army sup- 
ply depots and road maintenance camps were located at these points. 

The first four girls to staff the Tagap club came from Ledo. It 
took them eleven hours to reach their destination, a distance of only 
eighty-six miles. It was an all-night ride, too, from 8 P.M. to j A.M. 
Such was traveling on the Ledo Road! Their command car led a 
convoy of four Army six-by-six trucks loaded with canteen supplies 
and equipment, including seven thousand pounds of flour, three 
thousand pounds of sugar, seven hundred pounds of coffee, ninety- 
five cases of canned milk, kitchenware, cooking utensils, and even 
cement and bricks for the construction of outdoor ovens. The four 
girls were Judy Fitch, Hudson, Ohio; Star Giddy, New York City; 
Maxine Robertson, Portland, Oregon; and Mary Elizabeth Rogan, 
Cincinnati, Ohio. 

By the summer of 1944 there were four field directors evenly dis- 
tributed along the road Stanley A. Haw; Keith Berkner, Rochester, 
Minnesota; Earl Lewis, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania; and Daniel L. 
Brace, Washburn, Wisconsin. Their presence on the road brought 
out in servicemen all those things that they wanted to talk about, 
get done, or have done; personal problems that neither the company 
commander nor the post chaplain could do much about as they 
required communication with the United States: Even here, 15,000 
miles from the United States, Red Cross field directors kept open 
the line of communication between the servicemen and their loved 

Berkner was the pioneer field director on the road, his station 

being at rear echelon headquarters, Ledo. He set up a free mending 

service for officers' and enlisted men's uniforms. Such minor repairs 

as patching and sewing on buttons were made by several native 


tailors who brought their own Singer sewing machines (1915 model) 
with them. In March, 1944, 721 garments were repaired. 

His "drop-bundle" plan was another popular feature. Small de- 
tachments of the Tenth Air Force were stationed at isolated posts 
in the jungle for which they had volunteered for six-month periods. 
As they were from ten days to three weeks by pack train from the 
nearest Army supply depot, their K rations and ammunition were 
dropped to them by parachute on a scheduled air-drop service. They 
did not, however, receive Army PX items, such as sweets and com- 
fort articles, in this way. At the request of Major General' Clayton 
L. Bissell, then commander of the Tenth Air Force, Berkner pre- 
pared a monthly "drop-bundle" containing these articles. The first 
drop was on November i, 1943. On the afternoon preceding Christ- 
mas Eve, fifteen hundred individually wrapped Christmas gift pack- 
ages were dropped to the men with the compliments of the 
American Red Cross. This service was greatly appreciated, as the 
ships bearing Christmas packages from the United States had not ar- 
rived on time. Occasionally Red Cross bundles fell outside the air- 
drop area and were picked up by Naga hillmen. Even so, eventually 
the articles found their way to the GFs by the barter route. 

The promise of the Ledo Road as a supply route came to fruition 
early in 1944, when Merrill's Marauders suddenly descended upon it 
on their way to capture Myitkyina, principal Japanese base in north- 
ern Burma. 

The Marauders shrouded their movements in utmost secrecy, as 
the success of their "extremely dangerous and hazardous mission'* in 
enemy-held territory depended upon the element of surprise. To the 
Japanese-like tactics of infiltration and flanking movement they 
added "Marauder Magic," a bag of jungle tricks which confounded 
the enemy. 

They started their spectacular march of 750 miles from Ningbyen 
on the morning of February 24, 1944. Their backs bent under the 
weight of heavy packs, their guns oiled and loaded, their spirits 
high, they marched up the Ledo Road into the Hukawng Valley for 
their preliminary operations. 

At the base of the Ledo Road, during one of their brief rest 
periods, they had Red Cross doughnuts. Field Director Berkner had 
come by in a command car that moonless night, and delighted at 
the sight of American combat troops, the first in Assam, he offered 
to serve doughnuts and coffee. Ttte beverage was ruled out because 
tbeie was no time to unpack canteens. With the help of Pfc John 
Cassidy, of East Canton, Ohio, and Pfc John Gundy, of Warren, 


Ohio, canteen detail, Berkner went down the line passing out dough- 

The next evening base headquarters requested more doughnuts. 
A Red Cross clubmobile from the Margherita club, staffed by Aud- 
rey Edmonds, of Falls Church, Virginia, and Judy Astie, of Free- 
port, Pennsylvania, and driven by Corporal Robert Geiger, overtook 
the Marauders some twenty miles up the road. So surprised were 

they to see Red Cross girls that one of them exclaimed " , 

is the Red Cross here too?" 

The girls served doughnuts and cookies. Ordinarily, they sang 
and danced for the units they visited, but on this occasion they had 
to dispense with entertainment because of the secrecy surrounding 
the Marauders' movements. 

Merrill's Marauders represented twenty-five nationalities, some 
with Mayflower ancestors, some who were recent German refugees. 
The original unit was comprised of three thousand hand-picked 
men, all volunteers. They came out of the Army jungle schools in 
Panama and Trinidad and out of the Buna, Alunda, and Guadal- 
canal campaigns in the Southwest Pacific. Their forty-year-old 
leader, Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill, had entered West Point 
from the ranks in the regular army back in the twenties. 

The Marauders faced a nature as implacable in its way as the 
wily, ruthless military foe. To survive they lived as jungle creatures 
and fought as demons. They had need of the jungle lore acquired 
from Kachin tribesmen and American missionaries. While they re- 
ceived supplies by air-drop, often combat teams were cut off from 
food and fresh water for days at a time and were forced to live off 
the jungle. They ate roots, ferns, grass, and bamboo shoots, and 
obtained water from bamboo trees and dysentery-threatening 
streams. They fell victim to malaria, dysentery, dengue fever, typhus, 
and other diseases. At one time twenty-five per cent of the sick 
suffered from an incurable type of typhus. 

And as they marched they were made aware of the insidious 
presence of Japanese by the fire that come from unseen guns di- 
rected by perfectly camouflaged observers. 

They scaled cloud-banked precipices, and blasted cliffs to make 
a trail. Often they followed paths known only to their Kachin 
guides. Rains made the trails treacherous with a top layer of slithery 
mud and dead vegetation. Pack mules and horses weakened and fell 
off the trail, sometimes into the misty abyss below. Marauders 
plodded on, cutting their way through the tall leech- and rat- 
infested kww grass, fording streams, fighting Japanese, digging fox- 
holes or graves for their fallen comrades. 

Wounded were more in fear of being lost in the thick under- 
growth than of pain. No wounded were left behind; but at Nhpum 
Ga, where the Second Battalion was trapped for ten terrible days, 
the sick and wounded could not be evacuated in time and suffered 
and died in their foxholes. Casualties were first treated by doctors 
of the two portable hospitals that accompanied the Marauders, one 
a U.S. Army portable hospital, the other a section of Lieutenant 
Colonel Gordon S. Seagrave's field hospital staffed by Americans 
and Asiatics. Casualties were evacuated by small American planes 
landing on river sand bars or on improvised air strips. More than 
a hundred of them were thus taken out in less than a day, the little 
planes sneaking through cloud-banked mountain passes and scraping 
treetops to avoid detection by the enemy. 

Merrill's Marauders were an American counterpart of the late 
Brigadier General Charles Orde Wingate's Chindits, who made 
swift lightning attacks against Japanese communications and supply 
lines in Burma without accepting battle. The Marauders, on the 
other hand, did not restrict themselves to bushwacking but deliber- 
ately picked fights. Their mission was to move behind the Japanese, 
throw up road blocks, and pin them down while General StilwelTs 
Chinese columns attacked in strength from the north. 

While the main force of Marauders was in the jungle, a number 
of them drifted back into the Red Cross roadside canteen at Ledo 
for coffee and doughnuts. 

"Boy, what wouldn't I have given for one of these sinkers back 
there! " exclaimed one of them. 

Field Director Berkner promptly offered to supply enough dough- 
nuts for the entire outfit if proper clearance could be obtained. The 
men promised to request the necessary permission. What followed 
is told in Berkner's May, 1944, monthly narrative report: 

Some days later, the request was granted and then men reported 
back. Miss Julia Mueller and Pfc Gundy who operate the Ledo 
canteen immediately went to work, and that evening six thousand 
doughnuts were in the hands of the supply officer of Merrill 5307 
Cornp. Prov. Unit. The next morning Red Cross doughnuts were 
dropped to Merrill's men on the front lines in Burma. 

Sufficient time has elapsed so that these men are gradually 
drifting back to headquarters of the rear echelon and to the i4th 
Evacuation Hospital which serves them. At both of these places 
comments are frequently heard regarding the surprise and pleasure 
these men experienced when after months of eating only canned 


rations they suddenly found Red Cross doughnuts out in the 
Burma jungles. 

The Marauders were in the field a hundred days, during which 
they fought five major engagements and thirty-two skirmishes, ac- 
cording to General Merrill. By capturing (with the aid of Chinese 
troops) the Myitkyina airfield on May 17, 1944, they won their main 
objective. This and the subsequent taking of the town of Myitkyina, 
rail and road junction on the upper Irrawaddy River, marked the 
end of the first phase of General StilwelTs campaign to drive the 
Japanese out of Burma and reopen a land supply route to China. 

The Marauders' ranks were steadily cut down by disease, wounds, 
and exhaustion until they were a fraction of their original strength. 
Several days after the capture of the Myitkyina airfield, the sur- 
viving Marauders were flown back to Ledo, the rear base, for rest 
and recuperation. Red Cross workers said their faces were seared 
with fatigue. Seeing them made the workers feel that nothing they 
could do for these heroic jungle fighters was quite good enough. 

The i4th Evacuation Hospital, of basba construction (thatch roof 
and bamboo matting for walls) was set up to take care of Marauder 
patients; the overflow were taken to the zoth General Hospital, and 
to the 73rd "Evac" up the road. 

General Merrill was a patient at the 2oth General, where Red 
Cross workers aided doctors and nurses in making his stay as pleasant 
as possible. One of them, Ruth Royce, of Arlington, Virginia, a 
recreation worker, in hef monthly report told what she was able to 
do for Mm: 

A time ago a young Lieutenant came in for books for our dea'r 
friend, General Merrill who was a patient in the hospital. He was 
quite flustered as to what to suggest so I picked out a selection of 
good novels and a few mystery stories and short stories, a few 
up-to-date magazines, and enclosed a note asking him "What do 
great Generals read?" and that if he is like his grand boys of 
5307 he will digest the Ellery Queen horrors with glee, but I 
was sending him a tempting literary list and he could send for 
what he liked as we had an excellent selection. 

A week went by and then I received the following note: 


I enjoyed the books you sent me very much indeed. I must be 
slightly different from the rest of my gang since I enjoyed 
^Winged Citadel" more than anything else. If you have any other 
books not too deep on problems, still avoiding . . . junk writers, 


would you loan me a couple? My aide, Lt. Higglns, will take care 
that they come back to you and when they let me roam around 
a bit I'll come in and thank you personally. 


For General Merrill's fellow patients at the 2oth General seri- 
<>usly ill Marauders the Red Cross staff gave essential service in an 
emergency, as indicated in the following letter from the hospital's 
Lieutenant Colonel Francis C. Wood, Army Medical Corps: 

I wish to thank all the Red Cross girls for their very efficient 
and timely help in feeding, fanning, and taking care of the sick 
typhus patients during the recent emergency. Without this help 
more of these patients would have died, and many would have 
been much less comfortable. It was heartening to see your girls 
during the excessive heat, giving their time and energy (and aE 
they had! ) to handle a very serious emergency. 

The Red Cross staff at the time consisted of Ruth Peterson, as- 
sistant field director, to whom the letter was addressed; Elizabeth 
M. Gaynor, of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and Nell M. Carl, of 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, social'workers; Bertha Carlson, Margaret 
DeWolf e Erskine, Ruth Royce, and Amelia Cox, of New York City, 
all hospital recreation workers, Ann Townsend, of Haverford, 
Pennsylvania, and Lucille Funkey, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, secretaries. 

The 1 4th Evacuation Hospital departed from standard practice in 
that patients were detained longer than the customary period. At- 
tached to the hospital was a rest camp for able-bodied though tense, 
haggard, and weary Marauders. Cheering them posed a terrific prob- 
lem for the Red Cross hospital staff: Ruth Horine, of New York 
City, assistant field director; Mrs. Mary Sylvander, of Jamaica, 
Long Island, social worker; Ruth Weythman, of Monitor, Wash- 
ington, Margaret Dinwoodey, of Seattle, Washington, Madeline 
Lemere, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Sarah Edge, of Down- 
ingtown, Pennsylvania, all recreation workers; Freda Peterson, of 
Spartanburg, South Carolina, secretary; and Leona Thomey, of 
St. Cloud, Minnesota, staff aide. 

In her May, 1944, report, Miss Weythman recorded: 

With the help of two of the able-bodied Marauders we had a. 
bingo game for an hour one evening. Nesde's chocolate bars made 
very acceptable prizes. This is the nearest we have come so far 
to having a party. They enjoyed that activity enough to do it 


With infinite patience and intelligent handling the Red Cross 
^workers gradually succeeded in cracking the shell into which these 
ijrough infantrymen seemed to have withdrawn when they returned 
jfrom Myitkyim, 

For convalescent patients there was a comprehensive program of 
Tecreation under medical supervision games of all lands, sings, 
movies provided by Special Services, and entertainment by local 
talent and visiting celebrities from Hollywood and Broadway. 

In the Ledo Road hospitals, as in many other hospitals in the 
China-Burma-India theater, handicrafts formed an integral part of 
recreation. They were taught by Red Cross recreation workers who 
'had been trained in jungle crafts at the special school maintained by 
-the Indian Red Cross in Calcutta. 

The program at fhe ioth General was in charge of Bertha Carlson; 
7^rd Evacuation, of Virginia Alice Hanson, of Wauwatosa, Wiscon- 
sin; 1 4th Evacuation of Rutli Weythman. 

To supplement their own work, the girls enlisted native craftsmen 
tfrom near-by jungle pillages who passed on their skills to the hos- 
pitalized Marauders, They belonged to the Naga hill people who 
called thesiseives * c A|nericaxi Baptist Christians," converts of mis- 
sionaries from the United States. The Marauders got along well with 
them, eveu to picking pp 2 smattering of their dialect. 

Making iea<js feom ju&gle seeds, weaving baskets and mats from 
local gjcassgs, orade ^ilk weaving, embroidering, and leather tooling 
these wjere the native jungle crafts which absorbed the leisure 
Jiours of convalescent Marauders. And in the process they mellowed. 

On May 20 JField Director Berkner was requested by base head- 
quarters to set up a club for the Marauders within three days. 
Though the ,club was ready on May 23 there were no Marauders 
to enjoy it. A misunderstood order of General Stilwell for reinf orce- 
stnents had resulted in able-bodied and convalescent Marauders alike 
being flown back to defend the Myitkyina airfield against Japanese 
counterattacks. The boys felt in no condition for active service. In 
fact, they were .under the impression that after a rest they would be 
returned to the U.njited States on leave. The whole unit exploded 
into that "Marauder incident^' which received widespread publicity 
in the United States. By Jung i 5 however, they were nearly all back 
from Myitkyina, ready to enjoy the Red Cross club set up exclu- 
sively for them. 

The special pains taken to make this club inviting for them were 
described in their May, 1944, report by the club workers: (Miss) 
Korris MeClellaa, JBatoa Ro;uge t Louisiana; Wren Barbe, Fairmont, 
West Virginia; and Mary Elizabeth Rogan, Glendale, Ohio: 

It amounted almost to a "Command Performance" when the 
Army, at the personal request of General Frank D. Merrill, asked 
the Red Cross to set up in three days a club for the Marauders 
returning from combat duty in Burma. It was to be a temporary 
setup and would have first priority until completed they said! 

It was ready to operate within ten days, not three, but by that 
rime the Army had forgotten all about first priority, and there 
were no men around to use the club I 

But this is the story. To assemble a staff, the assistant club direc- 
tor was pulled out of Jorhat, the assistant program director out 
of Mohanbari, one staff assistant out of Tagap and the second 
staff assistant who never arrived and was replaced, out of Shillong. 
The assistant club director began work on May 24, the assistant 
program director on May 26, and the staff assistant having arrived 
on May 23, drew a bit of bad luck and spent her first five days 
in the hospital. 

Four bashas, two large and two small ones, forming a quad- 
rangle in the corner of two "street" intersections, were turned 
over to be used as the club. They had been standing neglected 
and unused for months, so it was a matter of literally "starting 
from the ground up" to renovate them. The rotten bamboo mat- 
ting had to be slashed into pieces and removed from the floors, 
leaning walls had to be straightened and propped, leaking thatch 
on the roofs needed repairing and the sliding bamboo shutters 
on the windows had to be rehung. 

That is to say nothing as to the condition of the acre or two of 
surrounding grounds composing the "compound." They were 
ribbed with ditches and slit trenches, shellacked with stinking 
muck, littered with debris and garnished with unsightly piles of 

It was a tired, dejected ghost town and to make it completely 
desolate, it was raining. 

One of the smaller bashas was well under way as a kitchen when 
the American Red Cross staff arrived. It was roofed with cor- 
rugated tin, a concrete floor was being laid, and it was already 
amazingly well equipped. One end of the kitchen was partitioned 
off as a supply room, which was stocked as soon as the shelves 
were built in it. 

All of the bashas except tike kitchen were immediately mosquito- 
proofed with hessian cloth [burlap] and netting, and all were 
wired for electricity, 

One of the two larger bashas was speedily transformed into a 
library and writing room. This was to be a strictly "quiet room 7 * 


with reading material, writing desks and lounging chairs. Surpris- 
ingly, the curtain and cushion material which came with the fur- 
niture was actually good-looking against the brown of the hessian 
cloth. To offset the monotony of brown walls and ceiling the 
upright and horizontal bamboo poles which support the btKba 
were painted white. About four feet from the ground a strip of 
some six inches was painted red, and the rest of the pole down to 
the ground was painted black. Shades for the ceiling lights were 
made from the huge Indian bamboo hats painted white on the 
underside and trimmed with red and black. 

The finishing touch which made the "quiet room" cozy, though 
rustic, was a gay runner of carpet down the center. By pure 
chance it was appropriately striped with red, black, green and 
tan. Men of the outfit had been drifting in and out of the library 
and writing room constantly since work had first been started oil 
it, but they settled down to using it earnestly immediately upon 
its completion on May 29. 

As In the case of the quiet room, all of the club basbas were 
utilized in the same transitory sort of way from the first moment 
of Red Cross activity in them. The other of the two small bashas 
was the next to be completed, by June 7, and was made into a 
game room. The second of the two larger bashas became the 
canteen and lounging room, not entirely completed, but suffi- 
ciently ready for use by June ir. 

Every opportunity possible was used to put color where there 
was drabness. The bamboo poles in the game room turned a deep 
brilliant red under the painter's brushes. Instead of curtains in 
that room wooden valances were used above the windows and 
they were painted red also. Red and green furniture intended for 
use on the porch was taken inside. Even the green ping-pong 
table was an innocent accomplice to the color scheme. The dirt 
floor was covered with dark reddish brown sawdust which is not 
only satisfactory for utility purposes, but actually adds to the 
looks of the whole room. The ping-pong table is constantly in 
use and other quieter table games are equally popular. 

The color scheme in the canteen room turned out to be yellow 
and black. The bamboo poles are yellow, with a base of black 
for some four feet above the ground. Wooden valances were 
again used instead of curtains, and striped diagonally yellow and 
black. The pencil-sized bamboo strips around the windows were 
finished in yellow. The piano was rejuvenated in black with the 
piece of woven bamboo which covers the back painted yellow. 

A further description of the canteen would not be complete nor 


just without mention of the two carpenters who made It that way. 
They were borrowed from a neighboring outfit Sergeant Robert 
M. Stribling and Private Pearl P. Little. They built the canteen 
counter with both open shelves and with drawers on which they 
put hand-hammered handles. They covered the front of the 
counter with woven bamboo and decorated the center section bv 
bending slender bamboo "cord" to form the words "American 
Red Cross" and the CBI shield underneath. 

A strip of colorful carpet, cushions, and sawdust on the floor 
finish off the room. 

A concrete floor seemed advisable for sanitary reasons in the 
canteen as w r ell as in the kitchen* and for a time the Army dangled 
the probability of it within tantalizing reach. However, "it did not 
work out and the sawdust has been quite satisfactory. 

In contrast to the "quiet room" the canteen might be called 
die "rumpus room." The piano, radio and victrola are all in there. 
That is where the noisy visiting goes on. Fellows gather around 
the piano, in the end of the room opposite the canteen counter, 
for informal entertainment and music. The room is long enough 
so that entirely unassociated activities can go on in either end 
without interfering with each other. 

Operation of the club would have been impossible without 
the contribution of certain, scarce commodities by outsiders. 
Paint, lumber, carpenters^ and the loan of a jeep were outstanding 
examples. Again and again this statement was made by fellows 
from other outfits when approached for assistance: "We'll do 
everything we can to help* Nothing is too good for Merrill's 

There was a dramatic moment on the afternoon of June 17 
when the 5307 Red Cross club almost closed up before k opened. 
Contrary to all orthodox procedure, It never did open formally, 
Because of troop movements the "ghost town" was alternately 
alive and dead. The club could have been officially opened, and 
the canteen in use, ten days or so sooner than it was, except that 
the only men around to use It were a few stray hospital patients, 
That condition prevailed until the decision was finally made to 
turn the whole club minus canteen operations over to the hos- 
pital Red Cross. For fully one-half an hour, that is the way the 
situation stood. Then came the message that another conference 
had been held and that the club was to open as per original plans! 

In view of the circumstances more complicated than can be 
discussed in a report It seemed foolish to try to have the forma] 
opening which was scheduled for the following day. It seemed 


foolish to have a formal opening at all. So on June 19 the canteen 
started serving- food at scheduled hours, and the 5307 Club spoke 
of itself thereafter as being "open." 

In the meantime the ghost town became suddenly alive again 
and the club facilities are now being used to capacity. 

In hanging verbal plaques the first one goes to the canteen 
manager of the club for the Marauders. He is British, speaks 
Hindustani fluently, and his name is Horace Kingham. He can 
"put his hand" to almost anything, and has proved it. A band 
arrived to play at the club one evening minus its pianist, so 
Horace, after having spent the day in the kitchen, stepped from 
behind the counter where he was serving, washed the doughnut 
grease from his hands, and played the piano with the band for 
the rest of the evening! 

Special Services deserves one of the plaques. Base Special Serv- 
ices loaned a radio and provided the lumber and plans for an 
outside stage which the carpenters constructed. The i8th Special 
Services should have a plaque of its own for meritorious service. 
Without any fanfare or ceremony its enlisted men in charge of 
athletics arrived one day at the club and set up a badminton court, 
volley-ball court, horse-shoe pits and basket-ball, baseballs, bats, 
and gloves, softballs, a punching bag, ping-pong sets and a piano 

They have been equally helpful as a liaison for suggesting and 
providing entertainment. In the less than two weeks that the club 
has been "open" the following entertainments have been brought 
to it: a rhurnba band and a magician, a semi-swing band, a mixed 
unit with singer, guitarist, boogie-woogie pianist and comedians, 
and the B-Kit of radio broadcast transcriptions of "Command 
Performances." This B-Kit has been booked for two nights a week 
for the 5307 Club. 

During the period while the ghost town was really a ghost 
town, a quartet of musicians flew from Jorhat to play for the 
Marauders. Since there was no one but hospital patients, the en- 
tertainment was turned over to the hospital Red Cross. 

A ping-pong tournament has been run off in anticipation of 
the coming of a U.S. national ranking player who will have the 
5307 on his itinerary when he arrives. That event was to have 
been the last week of June, but had to be postponed because the 
champ was behind schedule. Another "was to have been" is the 
reappearance of the rhumba band for June 30 when the Public 
Relations planned to take some pictures for publicity. That, too, 
is on the calendar for the future. 

The staff agrees that It has never had more pleasure working 
with a group of fellows. Having had nothing the past months 
but battle, death and disease they are grateful merely for being 
alive. Though the Enlisted Men's Committee as such needs fur- 
ther developing, the enlisted men's functional committee has 
operated superbly. They handle eagerly and capably many of 
the routine tasks. They are fellows who asked to be assigned to 
the club, have worked untiringly and demand nothing in return^ 
Because it was fun and because it was necessary, the American 
Red Cross staff began with its own hands each job as it came 
along, whether manual or mental labor but it was never long" 
until a GI volunteered for It and insisted on assisting or taking 
it over if possible. These same men have been flatteringly reluctant 
to leave on furlough when given a chance (or told to) and have 
actively resisted going. The esprit de corps among those who assist 
at the club and among all of the 5307 is a heart-warming inspira- 

Under "Plans for the Future" should be included in bold-face 
type the arrangement for free tailoring and pressing service for 
the Marauders as soon as satisfactory native labor can be located* 
A number of interviews have already been held. Under the same 
heading come several other much-longed-for and much-wwked- 
on items. The walks connecting the four buildings of the club 
should be covered. . * . The two end sections of the canteen bar 
will eventually be decorated interestingly and attractively as well 
as having the" Marauders' insignia painted on the back of the 
piano. . . The men are showing sign of initiative in self -enter- 
tainment, in addition to using the recreational facilities provided 
for them, which means the utilizing of more local talent Be- 
cause of the great interest in the athletic equipment sent to the 
men by Special Services the possibility of having a flood light 
placed outside to illuminate the badminton courts is tinder con- 
sideration. The canteen expects to furnish refreshments for the 
hospital Red Cross on special occasions. . . . These are extras T 
beyond the line of duty. Within the line of duty there is still 
much to be done, incidentally! 

There are three accomplishments which the staff considers 
nothing less than major achievements for the month. Each deserves 
more space in this niche of honorable mention, but for lack of 
time and space will be disposed of in the same paragraph. They 
are First, the refrigerator; second, a Jeep, permanently assigned; 
third, but far from least, after having pled and waited for one 


This has been a full month. It has been a month short In time, 
but long in experience. Its headaches have been comparatively 
few, its heartaches poignant, and its privileges supreme, 

As was originally Intended, the 5307 Club is for 5307 only, 
and so far there has been no serious implication that there would 
be trouble with outsiders disregarding that rule. However, there 
has been an occasional Negro dropping by, and a few white men 
from other outfits. When an MJP. one of the Marauders was 
asked his opinion on the matter of putting the intruders out or 
allowing them to stay, he looked up earnestly into the eyes of 
the enquirer and expressed the sentiments of "the toughest in- 
fantry unit" of the CBL He replied, "Ma'am, I couldn't put those 
fellows out of here. This is just like my home. All along the Road 
[Ledo] other fellows welcomed us into their clubs. And as for 
the colored fellows, why their band met us on the Road when we 
were weary and discouraged, and gave us heart to go on. I just 
couldn't put 'em out!" 

What can you do with boys like that but love them? 

Marauders responded wholeheartedly to this program. "One of the 
more articulate among them was First Lieutenant Logan E. Weston, 
of New Bedford, Pennsylvania. Known as the "fighting preacher" 
because of his ministerial studies, Lieutenant Weston was command- 
ing officer of General Merrill's I. and R. (intelligence and reconnais- 
sance platoon) that moved well ahead of the main body of Ma- 
rauders charting Japanese positions and strength and signaling back 
the information. 

Lieutenant Weston returned to the United States in September, 
1944, and went to Fairmont, West Virginia, where he expressed his 
thanks to the parents and local Red Cross chapter of one of the Red 
Cross girls at the Marauders' club Wren Barbe. 

To share his gratitude with the world, Lieutenant Weston wrote 
a tribute to Miss Barbe and her club associates, Norris McClellan 
and Mary Elizabeth Rogan. Here are some excerpts: 

Numerous remarks have been made about Merrill's fabulous 
Marauders in action against the Japs in northern Burma. Little or 
nothing, however, has been said about the activity behind the 
American lines. 

While the Marauders were battling jungle, monsoons, tropical 
fevers, and forcing Japs southward, they were little aware of 
the fact that a similar battle was being waged by faithful and 
devoted Red Cross workers at the rest camp back in Assam* 


Evacuation from Burma by plane landed ,members of the Ma- 
rauders unit In a forward hospital base. From there, convalescing 
patients were sent to a rest area In which the Red Cross had 
established a club. The three workers selected for this station 
were first, volunteers, second, carefully picked. They Were with- 
out question just as fabulous as were the Marauders. 

These noble girls brave the same tropical diseases as do the 
soldiers. They are exposed to the reptiles, rodents, Insects* malaria 
and numerous other maladies. It is not long before they realize that 
they are the first white women in this area, and that the natives 
have little idea about our methods. What a cost these true Ameri- 
cans pay! But they do so joyfully, In modest tones. They say they 
are just doing their bit to win the war. The thought for self- 
concern or comfort never enters the minds of these modern 
frontierswomen. Not unlike our nation's famous pioneers, they 
gladly accepted hardship and danger in volunteering for this 
forward base. They knew the Japs were just over the next hill, 
In a position to endanger their station at any time. 

The Marauders, though tough because of necessity, are human. 
Under the hard and crusty outer shell, lies a pliable heart of flesh. 
The knowing dread of the wounded is that they fear the future. 
They are afraid of being a detriment and liability to loved ones 
when they return. They do not want sympathy, they want confi- 
dence. You and I can profit by the example set before us by these 
Red Cross workers, and help our buddies regain that confidence. 

Finally, about the "Marauders' sweetheart," Miss Wren Barbe, 
of Fairmont, West Virginia, one of the three picked women. 
Despite her endless tasks she is always ready to greet the soldier 
with a beautiful smile, and listen to his tale of woe. Forgetting her 
own home comforts, loved ones and perplexing troubles, she pa- 
tiently listens to his troubles. She off ers cheery suggestions to help 
him recover from the blow of being jilted by the "one and only," 
or perhaps to help him recover from the loneliness that grips one's 
heart upon receiving news of the departure of loved ones. There 
are many other heartaches experienced by the soldier who has 
been long overseas, but perhaps the two mentioned are most com- 
monly experienced. 

For these, and many other morale boosters, we pay this tribute 
to our American Red Cross, and the /'sweetheart of the Mar- 

"You have nobly performed a very difficult task, and have 
stayed with it. You have brought our homes and loved ones to us 
when we were unable to go to them. We have not been sojourners 


In a strange land, because you have brought our glorious America 
with all its joy and privileges right up to our front lines. You have 
represented all we hold dear and precious. Sweetheart of the 
Marauders, we salute you and realize that the battle you are fight- 
ing is not without the shedding of sacrificial blood, neither do we 
want you to think your work is in vain. You did not have to 
make those sacrifices, but we are glad you chose to do so. In so 
doing, you have strengthened our lines tremendously. Our hats 
are off to you and our hope for you is a speedy return to your 
normal way of life. Until then, God grant you health, prosperity, 
happiness, and in all things, God's best." 

1 80 

Chapter IX 




soldiers, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen who have manned Allied sup- 
ply lines around the globe. Far more than in previous wars, the 
success or failure of battles has hung on them. Supply has been the 
key to Allied strategy. 

Almost forgotten in the excitement of war news were these serv- 
icemen in sectors far removed from the fighting frontsunder the 
hot, enervating sun on the Persian desert, in the humid Amazonian 
jungle, in the fog-hung Aleutian Islands, and far up north in the 
Arctic regions. They stood watch over bases, observed weather 
conditions, kept open radio communications, and moved the supplies. 
Cut off from civilization, enduring the extreme rigors of climate, 
struggling with heartbreaking terrain, they felt themselves marking 
time "sweating out the war" was the GI phrase. They suffered the 
tedium of waiting, the pangs of homesickness and separation from 
their families, and the discomforts of isolation. And for these sacri- 
fices there was no excitement nor glory of battle as a compensation; 
yet in the over-all military picture their services were indispensable. 

Their plight made a particularly strong appeal to the American 
Red Cross. To serve them in the remotest outpostsyes, even on a 
post near the North Pole went sympathetic and understanding Red 
Cross workers. 

By keeping open the channels of communication between them 
and their families, by solving personal problems and problems in- 
duced or accentuated by monotony, they contributed greatly to 
the troops' spirit. 

On their posts, Red Cross workers met the needs as they arose, 
whether it was giving chapter-made woolen mufflers, sweaters, and 
face masks to soldiers walking guard in the icy winds high on New- 
foundland's cliffs, adding a home touch with curtains at windows in 
bare barracks, or bringing the latest motion picture to isolated men 
who had not seen movies for many months. 

Some of their best work lay in the intelligent manner in which 
they guided the men to self-help. They unearthed skills and chan- 
neled them into recreational activities amateur shows, concerts, 
and arts and crafts. And as they could draw on the resources of 


an organization with millions of volunteer workers, they were able 
to supply both tools and materials that enabled servicemen to make 
the best use of their skills. 




: -: ; %i 



Persian Gulf Service Command 

Soon after the arrival of the first United States Army service and 
supply battalions in December, 1942, the American Red Cross 
moved into the Persian Gulf Service Command. The command was 
established to relieve the British Army of the major responsibility 
for moving and protecting war supplies through Iran to Russia. This 
supply route was developed by the Allies as an alternative to the 
costly North Atlantic line through Norway's North Cape to Mur- 
mansk and Archangel. 

A full year of extensive construction by United States Army 
engineers (and earlier by the British Army) had prepared the way 
for the Persian Gulf Service Command. Docks and jetties were 
built, harbor channels dredged and huge cranes installed. The con- 
struction program embraced truck and plane assembly plants, new 
highways and the improvement of old roads, airfields, and the over- 
hauling and re-equipment of the Trans-Iranian Railway. 


The port battalion at Khorramshahr and other Persian Gulf ports 
in American hands unloaded thousands of ships carrying lend- 
lease tanks, planes, spare parts, food, clothing, medicine, and in- 
numerable other items that materially aided the Red Army in driv- 
ing the Germans from Russia. Negro and white troops sorted the 
supplies and got them to the supply dumps. Loaded trucks were 
moved in convoy by both Negro and white soldier-drivers to 
Tehran and other transfer points where Russian drivers took over. 
Motor convoys went at full speed across the desert to escape the 
temperature of 145 degrees or more. The mountains to the north 
gave relief, but their tortuous, narrow roads increased driving 

Stationed along the convoy route were road maintenance gangs, 
track repair crews, and Military Police patrols. Their camps were 
isolated in a country as primitive as in the days of Omar Khayyam. 
By means of clubmobiles, snack bars staffed by Red Cross girls at 
the larger posts, hospital workers, and field directors, the American 
Red Cross gave them good coverage. 

But there was one group of men the small detachments stationed 
along the Trans-Iranian Railwaywhose need for Red Cross services 
for a time furrowed many brows. Ordinarily their remote outposts 
might have been reached by clubmobiles, but the latter were rakd 
out because no highway paralleled the railroad. 

The problem was finally solved by the operation of a 4t train- 
mobile," an idea conceived in the summer of 1943 by Douglas 
Gunter, of Richmond, Virginia, then American Red Cross Area 
Administrator in Iran. When Gunter first proposed that a caboose 
and freight car, staffed by a Red Cross man and two Red Cross girls, 
be placed on the railroad, the military authorities demurred. "It's a 
swell idea," commented one Army officer, "but girls? no! That's 
a rough, hot, dusty ride even when made occasionally, and you're 
thinking of setting up a regular schedule? You'll never be able to 
go through with it." 

Major General Donald H. Connolly, commanding officer, and 
Colonel Paul F. Yount, dkector of the Trans-Iranian. Railway, 
finally gave the trainmobile their blessing. Army carpenters con- 
verted a crude caboose into comfortable quarters for the two Red 
Gross girls blond, vivacious Anne L. "LiT Hackworth, of Seattle, 
and dark-haired Marie "Rickey" St. Martin, of Baltimore. Their 
caboose had two bunks, two chairs, a table and lamp, wardrobe 
closets and a shower. Assistant Field Director Edwin L. "Bud" 
Abbott, of Lawton, Michigan, had his bunk and office at one end 


of the "glorified box car" which had been fixed up as a comfortable 
snack bar. 

It was one of the most exciting events in Iran when on August 
14, 1943, the Red Cross trainmobile made its maiden trip from 
Tehran down to Khorramshahr on the gulf, stopping at all the posts 
along the railroad. 

Some months later Polly von Seht, of Scandia, Minnesota, Ameri- 
can Red Cross correspondent in the Middle East, took the same ride. 

This unique freight car [wrote Polly von Seht] is more than 
just a trainmobile to the hundreds of soldiers stationed along the 
railroad. To them it's a touch of home. 

Picture all the grime, soot, and dirt that is a counterpart of any 
railroad lonely railroad stops where American soldiers are sweat- 
ing it out, operating and maintaining the most important railway 
supply line in the world. Imagine miles and miles of desert where 
hot winds blow, and the dust whirls with a temper all its own . . . 
long stretches of steel track that wind through precarious moun- 
tain passes, tunnels and bridges (in one stretch of 131 miles there 
are 132 tunnels). Add these up, and the result is about as exciting 
as Einstein's theory. It's so drab, in fact, you'll think American 
soldiers stationed in Persia are doing the most unexciting work in 
any theater, and under the most trying circumstances. 

But step inside this box car for a moment. Three Red Cross 
workers try to make you feel this tiny club is your home. Edwin 
L. Abbott is busy turning the handle of an ice cream freezer and 
at the same time keeping one eye on the coffee pot that's sending 
off an aroma reminiscent of back home in Mother's kitchen. Over 
there at the window Lillian Hackworth is murmuring "15-2, 15-4," 
while she plays cribbage with a corporal from Minnesota. A 
gramophone is grinding out "Blues in the Night," and Rickey St. 
Martin is showing a sergeant in greasy fatigue clothes the latest 
jitterbug step she learned before she left the States in May, 1943. 

The walls of the car are painted a light cream. Red and white 
checkered curtains flutter at the sooty windows. There's linoleum 
on the floor that matches the covering on the snack bar counter 
across the width of the car. On this counter is set a huge basket of 
fresh doughnuts. GI Joe and his buddy are taken right back to 
Main Street where they used to dunk sinkers at the Greasy Spoon, 
while a third soldier scans through a month-old edition of the 
New York Times to see what the Brooklyn Dodgers are doing. 
There's a large crude bookcase lined with detective and Western 


stories. A big blond private encased ill i dirty sweatshirt mutters 
to himself, "Wonder why people back home keep thinking we're 
a bunch of morons? Wish they'd send books where we didn't 
have to figure out who killed the canary and why . ." 

So it goes until the Red Cross trainmobile pulls out of this tiny 
station and moves on to the next. The GIs know the exact time 
of its arrival there; being railroad men, they've telegraphed ahead. 
The fellows are right there when the trainmobile pulls in. Night 
may have fallen over the desert by this time. Bud Abbott pre- 
pares the "little theater" for a showing of "Madame Curie." The 
soldiers in this forsaken spot rarely see movies, and they're only 
too willing to help Bud set up the i6-mm. projector and screen 
supplied by Army Special Services. "This is great," says one sol- 
dier. "Ice cream and moviesjust like home." 

The end of a day's run on the rails doesn't add up to a cool 
shower and bed for Bud Abbott or these Red Cross girls. Maybe 
Lil and Rickey suddenly decide to beat up a batch of fudge, 
while Bud grinds away at the freezer for tomorrow's club callers. 
And if they're railed for the night anywhere near a big Army 
camp they make it a point to go over to the recreation center 
where Lil beats out a bit of boogie-woogie. Rickey dances with 
some 300 GIs who welcome a chance to dance with an American 
girl, regardless of the oppressive heat. 

Pushing southward toward the Persian Gulf the Red Cross 
trainrnobfle runs into soaring temperatures. On most desert posts 
It averages from 130 to 150 degrees in daytime. The days are 
unbearable and the nights one long pool of perspiration. It's a 
country of sweat honest soldiers' sweat. The fatigue clothes on 
the backs of GIs are covered with huge splotches of white, caused 
by excessive perspiration and salt release from the body. 

Throughout this area, ice cream is a godsend to the soldiers. 
And the sight of a pretty Red Cross girl does something to lift 
even the lowest spirits. 

Caribbean Area 

The three principal American Red Cross stations in the Caribbean 
area were the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad. As 
old-line Army posts, Puerto Rico and Panama had field-director 
coverage long before World War II. Trinidad was one of the Brit- 
ish islands leased by the United States in a destroyer deal before 
Pearl Harbor. Linked widi other British bases, Dutch islands, Cuba, 


and United States insular possessions, Trinidad was vital in an im- 
pregnable chain of defense. 

There were seventy-eight Red Cross workers on duty here with 
nine stations having resident workers and the others covered on an 
itinerant basis. Altogether the Red Cross was represented at Aruba 
and Curagao (Netherlands West Indies), the Galapagos Islands, 
Ecuador, Peru, Cuba, including Guantanamo Bay, Great Exuma, 
and the Bahamas, all three Guianas, Antigua (Leeward Islands), 
Haiti, Jamaica, twq posts in the Virgin Islands, Barbados, and Santa 
Lucia in the Windwards, in addition to Puerto Rico, die Panama 
Canal Zoue, and Trinidad. 

Eight hospitals, four in the Canal Zone, two in Puerto Rico, and 
two in Trinidad, had .Red Cross hospital recreation programs, and 
some also had Red Cross social workers and secretaries. 

An exhausting climate and inactivity, twin foes of morale, were 
reflected in the heavy case load. Red Cross communications into 
and out of this area averaged 8,000 per month. With Army Special 
Services providing a recreation program and USO responsible for 
off-post activities, the Red Cross stressed welfare service rather than 
clubs in the Caribbean area. 

Field Director Alva E. Neal of GallipoHs, Ohio, arrived at Trini- 
dad even before Pearl Harbor in June, 1941. D. C. Poshusta of 
Mason City, Iowa, landed with Army units at Aruba, Dutch West 

Indies, on February n, 1942, the same day that Orry C. Walz of 
Dorrance, Kansas, went ashore at Curasao, Dutch West Indies, and 
Claudius B. Webster of New York City <bame to Dutch and British 
Guiana in April, 1942. 

During the height of the submarine warfare in the Caribbean Sea 
1942 and 1943 Red Cross field directors spent ittucfa of their time 
looking after survivors of the many United Nations' ships sunk by 
German U-boats. For security reasons, not much publicity was given 
these sinkings, but the loss in shipping, cargoes and lives was very 

Puerto Rico unquestionably cared for more submarine victims 
than any other island in the Caribbean. The American Red Cross 
chapter in San Juan performed an extraordinarily fine service in 
providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical aid. 

Next to Puerto Rico, Trinidad probably was called upon most 
frequently to aid survivors of torpedoed ships. There being no Red 
Cross chapter on the island, Field Director Alva E. Neal took on 
Red Cross activities himself. The following excerpts from NeaFs 
report for the period June i5~October 15, 1942, indicate the scope 
t>f his work. 

Care of survivors has been a great task in the Trinidad sector. 
At one time (July 1942) more than noo survivors were on the 
island and in the sector. Red Cross stood ready to do its share in 
relieving the needs of these men who were victims of war's 
depredations. No agency but the Red Cross was prepared to meet 
thfe immediate needs of these men upon their arrival ashore, 
especially those who were landed within the jurisdiction of the 
leased areas. Many of these men were landed without a single 
article of clothing on their bodies. No bath had been taken, no 
shave, no water to drink, no food to eat for many days. 

We were notified either by Army or Navy depending upon 
the receiving service, and comfort articles, cigarettes, and cloth- 
ing sufficient to meet the immediate need were provided. 

On July 27, fifty-six survivors were equipped from Red Cross 
clothing stores in the short period of forty-five minutes. 

On August &th another group of forty-seven Latvian seamen 
were completely equipped with clothing in less than an hour. 

On September 5th, twenty-eight Panamanian and Brazilian sea- 
men were outfitted through our facilities. 

These and many more small groups were cared for by Red 
Cross, and many letters of thanks and appreciation were received. 

During July a survivors' camp was set up by the Army, and 

upon several occasions 200-300 survivors were housed there at one 
time. These survivors were quartered and fed from Army facili- 
ties. American seamen's living expenses were borne by the steam- 
ship company or the Maritime Commission's insurance division, 
and those of Allied seamen by their consular service. Clothing 
could not be purchased locally due to no supply being available 
in Trinidad stores. 

No survivor case has been brought to the attention of the Red 
Cross where a need existed but what some service has been 

We have provided complete outfits of clothing, individual 
garments, writing paper, stamps, cigarettes and matches; informed 
families of the safety and welfare of their husband, brother, uncle, 
cousin; asked chapters to extend service to families of stranded 
seamen; given seamen counsel, advice; cheered them on to better 
things; secured new jobs for them on Army Quartermaster boats 
to enable them to return to their homes; helped several to find 
work-away trips on commercial lines back to their ports of em- 

These and many other services have been rendered these vic- 
tims of war's adversity. 


Brazil's neighborly co-operation in permitting the use of its coast 
led to the development of one of the Allies' most important aerial 
supply arteries the South Atlantic line. 

The great Parnamerim Field at Natal on Brazil's bulge was still 
under construction when, in November, 1942, Albert Meyers of 
Brooklyn, the first American Red Cross field director, arrived. With 
the aid of Bernice Goetz of Cleveland, a welfare secretary who came 
three months later, Meyers covered a vast territory extending from 
Belem at the mouth of the Amazon River southward across the 
jungles to Bahia. By 1944, twenty-four Red Cross girls and men ran 
thirteen stations in this same area Belem, Natal, Recife, and Bahia, 
the main bases along the coast, and smaller radio, antiaircraft, and 
weather observation outposts hacked out of the Amazonian jungle. 

The Red Cross area office was on Parnamerim Field, headquarters 
of the Air Transport Command's South Atlantic Division. Par- 
namerim was the chief airport of an airline that started at Miami 
and used the following bases in the Caribbean and the South At- 
lantic as principal stopovers; Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico; Waller 

Field, Trinidad; Atkinson Field, British Guiana; Val de Cans Field, 
Belem; Pamamerim Field, Natal; and Ascension Island. From Natal 
to Bathurst, Africa, and from Ascension to Accra on the African 
Gold Coast, planes made connections with the trans-African military 
air route which, with branches, linked the Middle East, India, China, 
and Russia with England and the United States in a remarkably 
unifying network. 

Through Natal passed a constant air traffic bound for the major 
war theaters. Many of the pilots of the Ninth Air Force who gave 
such extraordinary tactical support to the British Eighth Army In 
the Libyan desert and in North Africa made a stopover at Natal. 
So did the airmen who ferried the Iend4ease bombers which gave 
General Montgomery timely air superiority at El Alamein; the B-zj's 
and Douglas A-zo's which contributed to smashing Russian victories 
in 1942 and 1943; and the planes that brought victory to American 
arms in North Africa, Sicily, Italy; and, too, the bombers that helped 
General Stilwell recapture Myitkyina in northern Burma. In addi- 
tion to planes ferried under their own power, the Air Transport 
Command's huge transports carried plane engines, spare parts, 
V-mail, blood plasma, medical supplies and other high-priority items. 

Transient air crews and passengers often were grounded on 
Parnamerim Field for periods ranging from one to five or more 
days. As they were confined to post with commercial amusements 
beyond reach, the commanding officer, Major General Robert L. 
Walsh, ordered the opening of two dayrooms, one for enlisted men, 
the other for officers. 

The dayrooms were beautifully furnished with funds supplied by 
the "War Emergency Comite," a group of patriotic American citi- 
zens resident In Rio de Janeiro. This group similarly furnished and 
equipped other dayrooms and Navy recreation centers along the 
Brazilian coast. As a branch of the Brazilian Red Cross, members of 
the group gave valued assistance to American Red Cross workers 
in the South Atlantic throughout the war. 

At General Walsh's request, American Red Cross girls operated 
the dayrooms at Natal. Under direction of Madeleine Schmid of 
Detroit, they held club programs and arranged beach picnics, sail- 
ings, and fishing trips, which helped make the transients* stay a 
pleasant one. Assisting Miss Schmid were Dorothea Winding of 
Miami Beach, Florida; Cora P. Menefee of Denver, Colorado; Mary 
Alice Huddle of Winnetka, Illinois; Frances McGill of Albuquerque, 
New Mexico; and Marguerite Boom of Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Distinguished transients were put up overnight in a special bar- 
racks on the field. As part of her duties Bernice Goetz welcomed and 


made comfortable a host of well-known people, Including Prince 
Bernhard of the Netherlands, Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, Major General 
Claire L. Chennault, Ambassador Joseph C. Grew, Major General 
Patrick J. Hurley, H, V. Kaltenborn, Maxim Litvinoff, Captain 
Eddie Rickenbacker, and Lowell Thomas. 

With the end of the North African campaign in the spring of 
1943, Natal felt the beginning of a returning tide of American 
soldiers the wounded being evacuated by air to hospitals in the 
United States. In an ever-swelling stream they poured through 
Natal, coming from North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and the China- 
Burma-India theater. 

This rapid method of evacuation provided by the Air Transport 
Command spared many wounded heroes the ordeal of a several 
weeks' run through mine-infested waters. The South Atlantic was 
one of the air routes used for evacuation of the wounded, and 
Natal was one of the principal stopovers for hospital planes. Red 
Cross worker Dorothy Craig of Traverse City, Michigan, met 
these planes. She distributed reading material, cigarettes and candy, 
served coffee and took messages for transmission to the men's 
families, a service given by Red Cross workers all along the South 
Atlantic line. 

Though air evacuation took far less time than by ship, experience 
showed that patients required some diversion in the hospital planes. 
The American Red Cross met the need with the "Red Cross Air- 
Evacuation Kit," a counterpart of the comfort kit supplied to sea- 
going patients. "We nurses have found the flight kit a success," 
reported Lieutenant M. Elizabeth Binkley of Montclair, New Jersey, 
an air evacuation nurse. "It's amazing how quickly the time goes, 
for the men now. Some of them play cards together; some are well 
enough to read the magazine that is included. Our patients who are 
well enough to sit up appreciate the addition of the rubber air 
cushion to the uncomfortable aluminum 'bucket' seats, while the 
handing out of such things as lemon drops, chewing gum and wafer 
cookies has been an antidote for air sickness." 

Ascension Island 

Ascension Island, it is said, was originally selected by the British 
Government as the place of Napoleon's exile after Waterloo. De- 
ciding it was too lonely, even for Napoleon, they took him instead 
to St. Helena, seven hundred miles to the southeast, where the 
Freach Emperor ended his days. 

Several thousand Yanks stationed on Ascension in World War 
II experienced the loneliness of this volcanic rock in the South 
Atlantic, midway between the bulge of Brazil and the African 
Gold Coast. Before the war some seventy-five British subjects 
attached to a cable station and a few St. Helenese natives lived on 
the island with its Green Mountain, one hundred lower hills, and 
forty-eight craters. Only rarely, perhaps once a year, did a ship 
anchor there. 

In 1942 Ascension suddenly became the scene of secret, bustling 1 
activity. U.S. Army engineers landed, surveyed, and performed. 
They built a y,ooo-foot runway unlike any in the world. Across 
the middle is a hump of volcanic rock that could not be blasted, 
The engineers built gun emplacements facing the sea, and task 
forces that followed were ready for any eventuality to attack Nazi 
subs, naval or air forces. When the huge airbase at Natal, Brazil, 
was completed, supplies and men and planes touched upon this pin- 
point island which shortened the distance of transatlantic flights. 
Ferry pilots and bomber crews having trouble with engines or bad 
weather marveled at their safe haven, familiarly called "the Rock.** 

The garrison was split tip into small units living In tent colonies 
on the rocky hillsides. Except for some scrub on Green Mountain 
and a lone scrawny tree bending to the trade winds along the 
beach, Ascension was barren. Its smallness- five by seven miles- 
gave the GFs a sense of confinement, and their isolation depressed 
them. Preying on their minds also was the deadly routine the daily 
ration of one gallon of water for drinking and washing; the same- 
ness of the horizon and the vast expanse of sea surrounding them; 
the unrelieved rhythm of the pounding surf, and the constant trade 

It took a man with imagination to know how to maintain the 
spirit and interest in life of soldiers in this situation* And in Gerald 
Bannigan, of Orange, New Jersey, the American Red Cross had 
such a man. "J e *ry and his Jeep' 7 meant Red Cross in capital letters. 
Bannigan learned how best to help the enlisted men by living with 

To satisfy their hunger for green things, he distributed flower 
and vegetable seeds that the men planted in volcanic ash irrigated 
with their rationed water. Victory gardens included Chinese morn- 
ing glories and six-foot tomato plants. 

"Color is what we need," said Field Director Bannigan. Through 
the Red Cross field office on the Brazilian mainland he purchased 
curtain material soft pastel shades of green, mauve, and yellow 
for dayrooms, and gay tropital prints of parrots and flowers 


for mess halls. The same Red Cross workers also bought for him 
comfortable furniture hand-woven from native reeds and grasses. 

The Italian game of bocce was admirably suited to the island 
terrain. Bannigan ordered wooden bocce balls made by native Brazil- 
ian cabinetmakers. 

Then, at the approach of the Ascension garrison's first Christ- 
mas, Bannigan took orders from the men who had no way of pur- 
chasing Christmas gifts for their loved ones back home. The Red 
Cross office at Natal filled the orders in the Brazilian coastal towns 
hundreds of pairs of sheer silk stockings, Carmen Miranda dolls, 
alligator purses, rubber sheets and toys for babies, guitars and 
mouth organs. ATC crews, glad to be of assistance, flew the Christ- 
mas cargo to "the Rock" on their way to Africa. The greatest 
pleasure, that of wrapping and sending the gifts home, was saved 
for the men themselves. 

Bannigan, a former athletic instructor, encouraged the construc- 
tion of a baseball diamond. Enlisted men started the work with a 
convoy of nineteen trucks and a steam roller, bringing volcanic 
surfacing ash from a hilltop three miles distant. 

Their officers entered wholeheartedly into the work, completing 
the diamond on a Sunday while the men had the afternoon off. A 
constant round of baseball, basketball, volley ball, tennis, and horse- 
shoe pitching tournaments was scheduled. Enthusiasm was so great 
that electric lights were installed for night playing. A basketball 
court in the nose hangar provided diversion for transient pilots 
waiting for plane repairs. 

The island was also a fisherman's paradise. Twelve fishing poles 
were available in the Red Cross office. On off-duty men fished 
from the cliffs for rock bass or sailed offshore for deep-sea fish- 

Though organized recreation took up most of his time, Bannigan 
never overlooked the importance of serving individual soldiers. 
During his tenure of more than a year, he raised the spirit of many 
a soldier by solving personal problems of one kind or another. 

In one of his reports, he related the story of Henry, a young 
Chinese-American soldier the only one of his race on Ascension 
who had become depressed over the lack of Chinese newspapers 
and music and because he had no one to talk with in his native 
tongue. This nostalgia Bannigan promised to satisfy. 

A few days later a transatlantic transport plane alighted on the 
island, and out of it stepped several passengers prominent Chinese 
Government officials. Jerry speedily whisked the young Chinese 


soldier to the airfield where he had the morale-raising satisfaction 
of conversing in his native tongue. 

Meanwhile, Bannigan had written to the "War Emergency 
Comite" of Rio de Janeiro explaining Ms problem, and in time a 
parcel containing twenty copies of a Chinese newspaper and three 
phonograph records arrived. Two of the records were commercial 
and bore Cantonese sing song melodies. The third was a transcrip- 
tion made in Rio by a young Chinese pianist whose greeting in 
Chinese preceded a piano selection. 

"They say that the Chinese are not demonstrative," wrote Banni- 
gan, "but I wish that I could have taken pictures of Henry when 
he opened the package. And when he sat listening to *his records* 
he was in his own Shangri La once more." 


In the great battle of the Alantic, the Allied bases on Iceland, 
Greenland, and Newfoundland played a vital role. United States 
troops occupied them in 1941 to prevent their capture by the 
Germans and to afford added protection to the Allied sea and air 
supply route across the North Atlantic to Britain, military base 
of the European theater of operations, and Russia. 

Iceland, particularly, situated in the northern arc of the ak 
service, was a strategic point. Submarine warfare surged around it. 
United States troops landed there in August, 1941, and soon after, 
the Iceland Base Command put through an urgent request for 

American Red Cross services. A group of Red Cross workers 
reached Iceland late in January, 1942, in a convoy with many en- 
listed men. The British occupation forces^ who were being re- 
lieved, were still on the island. Many of them were survivors of 
the historic Dunkirk retreat, resting from their ordeal while they 
kept a weather eye out for the enemy* 

The pioneer group consisted of the following: Field Directors 
Charles McDonald of Binghamton, New York; Lake F. Russell of 
Atlanta, Georgia; and Assistant Field Director Fxank H. Hagen of 
Monroe City, Missouri. 

Recreation workers were Jane Goodell and Ethel Hague Rea, 
both of New York City; Betsy Lane Quinlan of Waynesville, North 
Carolina; Doris Thain of Birmingham, Alabama; and Mary Dolliver 
of Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

Hospital workers were Ettienne Baldwin of Atlanta, Georgia and 
Elizabeth Clark of Framingham Centre, Massachusetts. 

Secretaries were Nancy Duncan of Washington, D. G; Camelia 
Greethan of Alexandria, Virginia; Helen Lee Stephenson of Miami, 
Florida; and Margaret Singer of Uniontown, Maryland. 

Dr. George K. Strode, of the Rockefeller Foundation, arrived 
with the group to make a public health survey. 

Already on duty in Iceland were Field Director John P. McDer- 
mott, Salem, Massachusetts, and Assistant Field Director Dryhurst 
G. Evans, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 

The entire United States Army garrison from Major General 
Charles H, Bonesteel down through the ranks made a sincere effort 
to win the Icelanders' friendship. Though the army was in desper- 
ate need of building space in the beginning, General Bonesteel re- 
fused to commandeer any buildings as the British had been obliged 
to do; and because of the tight housing situation he even refrained 
from renting property, not wishing to inconvenience the native 

The American Red Cross staff developed a close co-operative 
working arrangement with the Icelandic Red Cross, which con- 
tributed to the growth of a wholesome relationship between the 
civilian population and United States armed forces. An example 
was the annual Christmas party arranged by American Red Cross 

Last year [wrote a Red Cross girl] our recreation hall rang 
with Icelandic folk songs of a children's chorus around the first? 
balsam tree, towering ten feet high, they had ever seen. Nor? 
had the majority of them ever seen a movie before. Each [Yank}! 


enlisted man led a young child up to the tree for an apple and 
an orange, which were so rare, they were eaten skins and all. 
Their enthusiasm grew and they would not leave until they had 
their traditional Christmas dance. 

As they danced they sang in Icelandic, and their Miakled hosts 
replied in English. In the background a dim light filtered through 
a stained glass window made of oiled brown paper by an artistic 
soldier. Symbolically it portrayed a soldier standing guard on a 
hill overlooking huts, fjords and mountains. Behind Mm, the 
Northern lights flickered like the rebirth of the Christmas spirit 
In the children's eyes. 

General BonesteePs policy regarding Icelandic buildings, while 
admirable from a public relations standpoint, necessarily was a self- 
imposed hardship, and Red Cross workers suffered with the rest. 
The eleven girls in the group were packed into two small Nissen 
huts, each furnished with a stove, a coal bucket, and cots. The girls 
hung curtains at the windows and turned dry-goods boxes into 
dressing tables, but they were too crowded to feel exactly com- 

And they felt somewhat disappointed as their club program, so 
desperately needed for morale, was delayed until the Army could 
build clubhouses. At that time the troops had no means of recrea- 
tion at all. The Red Cross girls were requested by the military 
authorities to make the best of the situation, so they carried recrea- 
tion right into the camps scattered about the bleak island. 

Traveling in twos and threes, using any type of conveyance avail- 
able, even open boats in rough seas, the girls visited various camps 
every evening the only time the troops were free. They held com- 
munity sings, concerts, amateur shows, games and contests ia any 
space available. Canip mess halls, day huts, and large Nissen huts 
housing trucks and equipment were all pressed into use until a 
temporary Red Cross recreation center was opened in schoolrooms 
donated by the Icelandic Government in June, 1942. A week after 
the center opened, military police reported that trouble with the 
soldiers in Reykjavik had dropped seventy-five per cent. The first 
permanent Red Cross club, acquired from the British who had 
used it as an officers* club, opened its doors on September 16, 1942. 
Subsequently, the Red Cross program was expanded until a staff 
of thirty-four workers covered three on-post clubs, housed in 
barrel-roofed Nissen huts and two hospitals in the Reykjavik and 
Keflavik sectors. Seven additional workers served the Axmy Trans- 
port Command at air strips. 


Iceland's dreary climate created unusual problems. Such things 
as trees and flowers that were commonplace in the United States 
became of major importance to American servicemen. Red Cross 
clubs, therefore, were often decorated with hand-made colored 
tree leaves. One worker sent an urgent plea to National Head- 
quarters for a small tree, even if dead, to serve as a stage prop for 
an amateur theatrical. 

When the Arctic winds blew, all transportation, trucks and planes, 
was grounded by official orders, and nobody ventured out of bar- 
racks. The weather was subject to extraordinary changes. Often 
within fifteen minutes it changed from smiling blue skies to violent 
rain, hail, snow, rainbow and blue sky again. In winter when per- 
petual night replaced the round-the-clock daylight, and Arctic 
winds were particularly sharp, the troops found it difficult to keep 
warm, especially on the outposts. 

The Icelandic summer, though brief, was pleasant, and Red Cross 
workers took full advantage of it by arranging hikes and picnics. 
Fields and mountains were beautiful with grass and flowers but 
no trees. For a period of weeks GI's enjoyed the spectacle of twen- 
ty-four hours of continuous daylight, even though it interfered 
with their sleep. 

During 1942 and 1943 thousands of American soldiers in Ice- 
land waited for orders to proceed to camps in the British Isles. 
After Normandy some of these same men, now wounded in action^ 
returned to Iceland in hospital planes for a few hours' stop en route 
to hospitals in the United States. Occasionally, when a plane landed 
and a Red Cross girl boarded it with a cheerful "Hi, fellows! Are 
you hungry?" she found a bandaged soldier with whom she had 
danced or played checkers only a few months before. 

One patient, surprised to find Red Cross service right in the 
plane, exclaimed, "Now Fm convinced that if we'd gotten off our 
course and landed at the North Pole, we'd have found a Red Cross 
girl sitting on it with a smile, a cup of coffee, and news from 

A wounded soldier in one of the ambulance planes mentioned 
to a Red Cross girl that he had a brother in Iceland with an Army 
engineering unit, whom he had not seen for three years. A tele- 
phone call to the Red Cross field director in the camp brought 
the brothers together. The casualty, though seriously wounded* 
had time to tell some of his experiences, while his brother offered 
the latest news of Mom and Dad, before the plane took off on the 
last leg of its journey to the United States. 

Several days later came a tragic sequel to this reunion: the 

wounded brother had died shortly after his arrival at the hospital. 
"It was tough having to deliver such disheartening news," wrote 
the Red Cross field director. "But the serviceman took it on the 
chin. He just looked away a minute, swallowed hard, and then 
said, 'It meant a lot when Red Cross took the trouble to find me 
so I could talk with my brother when he came through on the 
litter plane, Now it means everything.' " 




From Iceland en route home, hospital plane loads of patients 
landed on the ^ large U.S. Army landing field at Stephenville on 
Newfoundland's western coast. No matter what time of day 
night they arrived, an American^ 
Red Cross girl was on the field 
to greet them. The girls were 
Assistant Program Director Bea- 
trice Massman of Buffalo, New 
York, and Staff Assistants Ruth 
Kellogg of New York Qty and 
Vivian Steinhoff of Caldwell, 
New Jersey. 

Baseball-minded GI's referred 
to Newfoundland as "first base," 
the first of the British bases in 
the Atlantic occupied by United 
States troops, the advance con- 
tingent arriving on January 20, 
1941. This island advanced the 
Ajnerican defense line by more than a thousand miles eastward in 
the North Atlantic. From the great United States base at St. John's 
and the British airport at Cobb's Camp northwest of it, squadrons 
kept vigil over the island and the waters far out to sea. Warships 
steamed out of the long, sheltered harbors to patrol the sea lanes 
giving protection to the convoys bound for Britain. Newfoundland, 
one-third of the way to North Ireland bases from New York on the 
great circle route, was the jumping-off place for American-made 
bombers flying across the North Atlantic for delivery to Great Britain. 

Canadian forces and the local native militia shared with the 
United States garrison the responsibility of guarding Newfound- 
land. Along St. John's cobblestoned Water Street, the town's 
Broadway, near the water front, as elsewhere on the island, Ameri- 


cans, Canadians and "Newfies" fraternized freely and met in 
friendly athletic competition. 

The morale problem was far easier in Newfoundland than in 
Iceland, as American soldiers and sailors had less adjustment to 
make. Good for a laugh anywhere was the recollection that when 
the first United States troops arrived they expected to see Eskimos, 
while the Newfoundlanders mistook the parka-clothed GFs for 
Eskimos. Amusing to the Americans were some of the place names: 
Main Topsail, Cow Head, Blow-me-down, Come By Chance, Joe 
Bart's Arm, Seldom Come By, Heart's Content, and Tickle Harbor. 

American servicemen were frequent guests at tea in Newfound- 
land homes and participated in local celebrations held in the fish- 
ermen's villages high on the cliffs along the jagged coast. Some 
married local girls and had families. 

The American Red Cross work in Newfoundland -was chiefly 
an on-post activity. Camp, club, and hospital personnel were con- 
centrated at St. John's, Army base headquarters, where Lucille 
Mick of Austin, Texas, directed the club; at the Army and Navy 
base at Argentia, on the southern coast, where Betty Fleck of 
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, was club director; at the Army base 
at Gander where Helen Reichenbach of Anchorage, Kentucky, 
was in charge; and at Stephenville. The Red Cross also staffed two 
"alert buildings" for transient airmen grounded by fog. 

Armed with a portable movie projector, screen and films, Assist- 
ant Field Directors W. H. Higgs of Barre, Vermont, and Jacob 
Horst of Reading, Pennsylvania, visited remote outposts. 


As a convenient stepping stone for planes flying between the 
United States, Canada, and Europe, Greenland was an important 
Allied base. Its value was even greater as the "cradle of European 

Weather data from Greenland was of vital military importance 
to the whole European theater of operations. High and low pres- 
sure areas moving across Greenland in a general southeasterly direc- 
tion gave accurate indications of what weather could be expected 
in England and on the European continent. The Royal Air Force 
and the United States Army Air Forces based in Britain plotted 
their aerial war strategy against Fortress Europe from weather in- 
formation gathered by United States and Canadian troops stationed 
in tiiis Danish colony. 

Attaching high value to Greenland, the Germans early in the war 
planted several meteorological units there. The battle to freeze them 
out began in the spring of 1941 when the United States Govern- 
ment assumed its protection as essential to the security of the West- 
em Hemisphere. From time to time German weather outposts were 
ferreted out and destroyed. In the fall of 1944, the crew of a U.S. 
Coast Guard cutter landed on one of these outposts, captured three 
German officers and nine soldiers and seized their meteorological 
equipment, radio transmitters, and firearms. 

In June, 1941, a joint landing was made in Greenland by United 
States and Canadian troops, and a group of military bases was 
established along the coasts. 

"Was Eric the Red color blind when he named this place? ** 
wrote one Red Cross field director, arriving among Greenland's 
gaunt mountains and endless snow. Research revealed that it really 
had been green when the Danes first cultivated it, but changing 
ocean currents had left little to interest the newcomer except the 
vast glacial icecap and spectacular northern lights. There is not a 
single city in all Greenland, and only one town of any size, God- 
thaab, the capital, where the first United States consulate was 
established in May, 1940. 

Snow-, ice-, and weather-bound, the few American Red Cross 
stations in Greenland had little contact with the outside world. 
In the season when the winds raced like the Valkyries and the 
land was locked in ice, they had no contact with each other. The 
scattered units of United States servicemen were entirely depend- 
ent upon themselves for whatever semblance of normal living they 
were able to maintain. This tested the ingenuity of the Red Cross 
workers assigned to them. Punishing hours on skis, snowshoes, or 
icebreakers were required for field directors to reach the small 
groups of men at outlying posts. 

At one station a short distance from Julianehaab, Red Cross 
Field Director Robert T* Barrett of Atlanta, Georgia, received an 
appeal for a life-size poster of a woman from a group of isolated 
soldiers who had not seen a living female in almost two years. Bar- 
rett wrote National Headquarters that they wanted u a paper doll 
they could call their own," so that they might not forget what an 
American girl looked like. 

For a long time no Red Cross girls were assigned to Greenland 
due to the extreme conditions there. In response to Field Director 
Barrett's frequent requests, however, National Headquarters finally 
sent four in the company of Army nurses, the group arriving on 
January 20, 1944. 


The Post Executive officer [reported Barrett] called me that 
morning saying, "Bob, your girls will be here in five minutes." 
I was so excited, not having seen nor talked to a lady in nearly 
five months, that I jumped into the car, and went tearing up to 
the Post headquarters to let them know about the new arrivals. 
In my confused state, I had not taken time to consider that the 
message from the Executive Officer had originated at the post 
The Commanding Officer thoroughly enjoyed my lack of com- 

The girls, all recreation workers, were Margaret Gallagher of 
Temple, Texas; Frances Nell Dunkirk of Zeeland, Michigan; Mar- 
tha L. Franklin of Los Angeles; and Emily Climo of Wakefield, 
Massachusetts. The latter two were assigned to the hospital. 

Red Cross business boomed overnight. After overcoming their 
initial shyness, the men flocked into the Red Cross club and the 
hospital dayroom. The result was that Red Cross supplies were soon 
exhausted, and back to Washington went a cable requesting "15 
barrels of doughnut flour and fifteen boxes of shortening soonest 

The Red Cross girls made their influence felt in many ways 
which added up to improved spirits. For one thing, the men were 
more conscious of their personal appearance even though the girls 
did not expect it of them. The bare Nissen huts in which the men 
[ived needed brightening up; the girls gave them a homelike touch 
with drapes and curtains obtained from Red Cross chapter volun- 
teers in the United States. They were called upon to change but- 
tons, patch elbows, and sew chevrons. Together with the field 
directors, Walter Smith of Skokie, Illinois, Charles W. Moran of 
Niagara Falls, and Barrett, they distributed chapter-made sweaters, 
socks and other Arctic equipment. 

The Red Cross club on this station was located near the ruins of 
a settlement founded some nine hundred years ago by Eric the Red, 
father of Leif Ericsson, thought to have been the first white man 
to discover the American mainland. The club building, erected by 
the Army, faced the runway where planes landed and took off 
against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and an iceberg- 
dotted fjord. Soldiers, airmen, truck drivers and Coast Guardsmen, 
blue with cold, relaxed before the fire and had doughnuts and 

The station hospital took care of patients with only minor injur- 
ies. This made possible greater participation in the hospital recrea- 
tion program. Local Eskimos requiring hospitalization were also 

admitted to this Army hospital One of them, Semoiya by name, 

had lost an arm in an accident. The hospital staff made a papier- 
mache form for a wooden arm with an iron hook built by soldiers 
of the ordnance unit. For the straps, the Red Cross furnished the 
only suitable piece of soft leather, saved from billiard cue tips. 
Semoiya, who knew not a word of English, was taught to sing 
"Pistol-Packin 7 Mama," and the ward was convulsed in laughter 
each time he sang it. 

The most northerly American Red Cross installation in the world, 
a lonely United States Army base located along Greenland's north- 
em coast not far from the North Pole, was covered by Field Direc- 
tor James Braskin of Philadelphia, for eleven months from Octo- 
ber, 1943, to September, 1944. 

Our entire world [wrote Braskin] consists of a space half-a- 
mile in area. The wildest, most rugged mountains you can im- 
agine tumble right into camp, clearly making our boundaries. 
While the rest of the bases in Greenland have landing fields and 
air transportation, we are solely dependent upon water trans- 
portation through the fjord which knifes through the moun- 
tains. On a clear cold night the sky puts on a show that would 
stun a Hollywood producerNorthern Lights plus the Arctic 

The Army established this base, according to Braskin, chiefly for 
weather observation purposes, though there was plenty of anti- 
aircraft protection to harass any German planes from Norway 
flying over the territory. 

To reach this remote base from the United States, Field Director 
Braskin flew to Julianehaab, and from there sailed in a freighter 
for four days. The nearest Red Cross station was more than nine 
hundred miles away, with no overland routes whatsoever to it. 
During the long winter months when the water was one solid 
mass of ice, the post was completely isolated from the world ex- 
cept for radio. Braskin tells the story of a young soldier, a replace- 
ment, who, upon arrival in camp, picked up a telephone in a shack 
and called for "long distance" to talk with his family In the United 
States. It was only a camp telephone, however, with a wire no more 
than a mile and a half long. 

During one period of nine long weeks the post was without mail 
delivery service, which greatly depressed the men. Braskin, having 
free access to Army communications, radioed messages to their 
families and replies came back the same way usually within four 


days. The men never forgot this emergency Red Cross service. 
Morale picked up tremendously when the Army, despite extremely 
hazardous flying weather, established a regular mail delivery service 
that brought first class mail by parachute dropped from low-flying 
planes. But mail from home, arriving in accumulated lots, seemed 
to bring at least one problem for every man. A round of letter 
writing and radiogramming began for Bruskin as soon as the letters 
had been digested. This was the experience of many other Red 
Cross field directors in Greenland and elsewhere. 

Detached from the base were a number of six-man teams who 
manned remote weather and radio outposts. In winter or summer 
Bruskin served them regularly. To reach them during the winter 
meant traveling in snow shoes and by dog sled across the snow 
fields, often in a freezing gale. 

From October i to March i, when the temperature dropped 
from twenty to forty degrees below zero, the post was shrouded 
in perpetual darkness. 

Many of the soldiers were young enougheighteen- to twenty 
to squeeze some fun out of their strange experience. Bruskin pro- 
moted Eskimo crafts, including Ivory carving, and other recrea- 
tional activity to keep them busy during their off-duty hours. A 
popular sport was skiing, though some of the boys landed in the 
station hospital with broken bones. One of their hobbies was grow- 
ing beards, the shape and length of which led to good-natured 
competition. Some boys were from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 
and upon learning that Bruskin had come from the same state they 
felt closer to him. 

Christmas trees [wrote Bruskin] are as rare up here as bathing 
suits, but that didn't stop us from having one. Our tree was a 
two-by-four cut down to size and nailed to a supporting plat- 
form. Green camouflage paint, liberally sprayed on the branches, 
gave it a very real effect. Tinsel and icicles were cut out of tin 
cans, and some burned-out light bulbs painted red, blue and green 
made very satisfactory Christmas balls. The large star on top of 
the tree was cut out of the heavy tinfoil tenderly wrapped 
around our dehydrated potatoes. It was a beautiful tree and I 
know that even Joyce Kilmer would have forgiven me. 

Problems brought on by the overlong winter were solved with 
the coming of a season near enough Uke spring to permit outdoor 
expeditions. For one thing, Bruskin was now able to visit the weather 
and radio outposts by crash boats instead of by mushing. Sixteen 


men at a time accompanied him by crash boat up the fjord to see 
the immense aquamarine expanse of the ice-cap and watch icebergs 
break off amid thundering roars and float out to sea. Crayons and 
paints went along with the men and many excellent sketches were 

From June to the. latter part of July the sun was overhead daily 
until midnight, and the GFs understood why Greenland is called 
the "Land of the Midnight Sun." 

The most exciting occurrence on Bniskin's post came in July 
when three of the Red Cross girls from the southern coast arrived to 
entertain the boys. The bearded GPs were in the highest spirits danc- 
ing with the girls. 


Before the war the American Red Cross was represented in 
Alaska by ten active chapters. To cover the Territory's 580,000 
square mles, only a small portion of which was settled, required 
the same stamina and courage displayed by the pioneers. Chapter 
chairmen, most of them seasoned frontiersmen, used not only radio, 
airplanes^ coastal steamers, and fishing boats to maintain Red Cross 


services, but also, in the manner of sourdoughs, pack animals and 
dog sleds. 

Pioneering instincts and ruggedness were likewise demanded of 
Red Cross field directors and girls who came to Alaska in the days 
after Pearl Harbor when the Territory was being developed as" a 
vital outpost of the Pacific coastal defenses. On the mainland they 
faced severe cold except along the coastal strip to the south, from 
Cordova to Ketchikan, which the Army calls the "Banana Belt.** 
There on the wet, heavily wooded islands and shore of the "In- 
side Passage" it is rarely zero. Primitive transportation was another 
serious handicap in a country of such vast distances as Alaska. 
There are only two railroads Skagway to Whitehorse, no miles, 
and Seward to Fairbanks, 476 miles. Fairbanks is also the terminus 
of two roads open in summer, one from Valdez, the other from 

The American Red Cross wartime program in Alaska Territory 
began before the United States entered the war in January, 1941, 
when a field director arrived at Fort Richardson, near Anchorage' 
and a social worker was assigned to the station hospital. The first 
comfort supplies were received that August, recreation equipment 
soon after. By November outpost dispensaries and other hospitals 
began to ask for Red Cross services. Following the influx of troops 
in 1942, Red Cross personnel were assigned to seven stations and 
to other stations as they were opened. 

The experience of Field Director Morris Gross of Reading, Penn- 
sylvania, in Nome was typical. Upon his arrival in June, 1942, he 
learned to his dismay that a Red Cross welfare and recreation pro- 
gram had to be contrived literally from thin and cold air. No 
building was available for a club, no lumber or building materials 
could be purchased to build a new clubhouse, and no furniture 
was for sale. 

His first assistance came three weeks after his arrival. The 
Catholic parish priest loaned him a one-story church assembly hall, 
but the building had to be moved a mile to the site selected for a 
Red Cross club. Townspeople, the Army, and civil engineers all 
helped in the moving. Both the building and the caterpillar tractors 
hauling it, however, bogged in the thawing summer tundra, and it 
took six more caterpillars to puU them out of the noire. 

The problem of furniture came up next. Nome's stores had none 
for sale, and transportation difficulties precluded its being imported 
from the outside. Gross equipped his club piecemeal, obtaining a 
chair from one family, a table from another, a rocker from a third, 
and so on, until the club was completely furnished. From the fam- 

ily of a deceased Red Cross chapter chairman, he obtained the gift 
of a library and bookcases. 

When the Nome Red Cross club finally opened its doors its 
usefulness was measured by the fact that it was the only public 
place in town, outside of the saloons, where soldiers could spend 
a ^companionable evening. By organizing the women of Nome and 
giving them a share in programs there were decoration, hostess, 
dance, and other committees Gross developed a fine community 
project around the club. 

A young soldier, a musician in civilian life, gave him a hand in 
organizing a string band. Before Hollywood films started coming 
in, moving pictures made by Nome's amateurs were projected on 
the club screen. 

When Gross left Nome in February, 1943, to be promoted to 
Red Cross training supervisor at Fort Lewis, Washington, he was 
replaced by a staff of six people a club director, an assistant, two 
recreation workers, a hospital worker, and a secretary. 

A challenge of a different kind was met by several other Red 
Cross field directors in 1942. Scattered over the vast expanse of 
Alaska were many remote outposts where men had not seen a 
motion picture in a great while. Though supplying them with films 
involved extreme difficulties of climate and terrain, the American 
Red Cross undertook the program at the request of the Army. 

Priorities permitted the purchase of projectors and films within 
a week. Army and Navy co-operation resulted in a one-day clear- 
ance of the shipment northward from Seattle. Each pack consisted 
of a i6-mm. projector, reels of film, a generator capable of gen- 
erating 120 volts, and a loo-foot cable. 

The program was inaugurated in Kodiak in September, 1942. No 
floodlights accompanied this premiere, though the gathering was a 
brilliant one. Among those attending were General Charles E. 
Corlett and his staff, American Red Cross Resident Supervisor 
Carey Maupin and Fred F. Kislingbury, Pacific Area director of 
the Red Cross Hospital Motion Picture Service. An improvised 
hook-up set up by Red Cross workers broadcast word of the new 
program to the farthest outposts. 

Distribution of the portable movie equipment began the next day, 
By dog-sled teams and jeeps, over roads and trails, some steep, 
some snow-packed, slushy or icy, and in aE kinds of weather, Red 
Cross field directors carried Hollywood's latest productions to the 
isolated units. So often did these servicemen see films prior to their 
regular release dates^ that one motion picture producer was moved 
to remark, "Hollywood might adopt a new publicity slogan: 'This 


picture was shown first to troops in Alaska. 5 " By a coincidence, 
Field Director Maurice L. Boyd showed "Holiday Inn" at South 
Beach, an outpost of Fort Raymond, on Christmas Eve, 1942. This 
is the picture in which Bing Crosby sings "White Christmas." 

For the soldiers stationed on Montague Island where the rough 
seas made navigation difficult, Field Director Boyd had the Army 
drop the films by parachute. Army and Navy planes also trans- 
ported the portable equipment over the longer distances, such as 
the i5oo-mile hop from Kodiak to the Aleutian Islands. 

The movies were showed in Quonset huts, mess halls, store- 
houses, barracks, hospital wards, and dayrooms, from Anchorage 
to the rocky tip of the Aleutian chain. Typical setting was a mess 
hall with the kitchen serving as a projection room. An audience 
of Minnesotans who hadn't seen a movie in ten months cheered 
Cesar Romero in "The Lucky Cisco Kid." In recreation centers of 
station hospitals, patients hobbled in on crutches, or, wrapped in 
warm robes, were wheeled in. They watched the pictures in silence, 
but when the lights were switched on again, their faces were in- 

At one lonely outpost an air-rescue station after the showing of 
a Sonja Henie picture, a soldier exclaimed spontaneously: "That's 
the first time we've heard a woman's voice in fourteen months." 

In 1944 there were twenty-six American Red Cross installations 
(exclusive of Red Cross chapters) in the Alaska Territory, staffed 
by 144 workers, of whom seventy-eight were women. With Area 
headquarters at Fort Richardson, near Anchorage, American Red 
Cross operations stretched for more than four thousand miles, from 
Edmonton, Alberta, to the most westerly islands of the Aleutian 

In close co-operation with Army Special Services and Navy Wel- 
fare and Recreation, the Red Cross program embraced athletics, 
arts and crafts, community singing, dances, gardening, gold pan- 
ning, parties, picnics, discussion groups, and even miniature golf. 

Beautiful Ski Chalet, a branch of the Kodiak club and located in 
a secluded valley near Pyramid Mountain, was a popular retreat. 
Away from the routine of Army posts and Navy bases, the Chalet 
gave soldiers and sailors an opportunity to enjoy the homelike at- 
mosphere of the lounge, music room, library, and snack bar. Louise 
Roloff, of Golden, Colorado, a recreation worker, swung a machete 
in the thick alder woods up the mountain slope to make nature trails 
along which wild flowers were labeled with gaily printed signs. 
Trail blazes also marked the way to hidden lakes and mountain- 
tops. The bottoms and tops of coffee cans painted orange were 

nailed to posts along the trails to guide hikers who might get lost 
in the fog. 

Skiing was the main winter program, with slopes for beginners 
and "schuss" hills for the advanced skiers. After ski races down 
the tallest mountain, steak fries were held for parties of four to 
sixty men. Groups of thirty-five to fifty men off Navy vessels were 
also entertained at the Chalet. For men cramped aboard ship the 
hike to Spectator Point, or a ball game at near-by ''Swampy Acres" 
Stadium, with a home-cooked meal at the Chalet was a memorable 
event. Jeannette Griswold of Hanford, California, assistant program 
director, and Miss Roloff helped Captain John Hayes of Salt Lake 
City, post ski officer, in the promotion of winter sports. A popular 
item on the Ski Chalet's menu was the reindeer-burger, cousin of 
the home-town hamburger, made of ground reindeer meat. 

At Whitehorse, halfway point on the Alcan Highway, the 
American Red Cross club was installed in an old log stable formerly 
used by the Northwest Canadian Mounted Police. The stable was 
remodeled and a w r ing added. On its floor, which once echoed the 
hoofbeats of the Northwest Mounted Police horses, Red Cross 
girls and other young American w r omen danced with GFs. In the 
former oat bin a snack bar served coffee and doughnuts. What 
was formerly the hayloft became a dark room for camera enthu- 
siasts, a workshop for arts and crafts, and the office of Field Director 
David T. deVarona of San Diego, California. 

Whitehorse, made famous by Jack London's writings and the 
glamour of Yukon's gold rush, still had many buildings of log con- 
struction. Only a half-block away from the Red Cross club was 
the log church in which Robert W. Service, well-known North- 
west poet used to worship. 

And, here in the Arctic, the Red Cross served ice cream from 
a five-gallon, hand-operated freezer that once supplied the same 
dessert to Admiral Richard E. Byrd and his men on one of the 
Byrd antarctic expeditions. 

During construction of the Alcan Highway in 1942 the American 
Red Cross staffed temporary recreation centers which the Army 
had built. They were appreciated by the thousands of engineering 
troops, Negro and white, who, with the aid of civilian workers, 
fought cold and loneliness, as well as one of the toughest terrains 
in the world, to build this sixteen-hundred-mile military supply 
route. And when the highway was opened to Army traffic in No- 
vember, 1942, the Red Cross remained to serve the soldier track 
drivers and military patrols. 


The Alcan Highway starts at Dawson Creek, British Columbia 
railhead, and runs northwestward, winding around high mountains, 
spanning gorges, pushing through swamps and immense forests, 
until it ends at Fairbanks, Alaska. It parallels the Alaskan air lines. 
Red Cross on-post clubs along the Alcan Highway were located at 
Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Whitehorse, and Fair- 
banks. In addition, there was a big club in Edmonton, and for a 
period, one at Big Delta. Karl W. Ernst of Akron, Ohio, super- 
vised Red Cross installations along the highway. 

Aleutian Islands 

The air route through Alaska and the Aleutians is the shortest 
path to Japan from the United States. Attu, the westernmost island, 
lies only seven hundred miles from the Japanese base at Paramushiro. 

In June, 1942, Japanese air forces made two daylight air attacks 
on Dutch Harbor. In the same month Kiska, 650 miles from this 
American naval and air base, and Attu, about 275 miles to the 
northwest of Kiska, were occupied by enemy forces. 

To meet this threat, the United States immediately started an 
accelerated construction program in the Aleutians, including the 
building of two advance air bases on Adak and Amchitka Islands. 
The latter made it easier for the United States Eleventh Air Force 
to give effective tactical support to the amphibious troops who re- 
took Attu in May, 1943. 

On the night of August 14-15, 1943, a mighty United States 
amphibious task force arrived off Kiska. After a preliminary shell- 
ing and bombing, American and Canadian troops went ashore. 
They were surprised to find Kiska abandoned by the enemy. A 
team of four Red Cross field directors, who landed on the beaches, 
served coffee and cigarettes to the tired, hungry American and 
Canadian troops unloading supplies. The team consisted of Edwin 
Muchow of Marriemont, Ohio; Marion Thomas of Gainsville, 
Georgia; David T. deVarona of San Diego; and Matthew Howard of 
Beverly Hills, California. 

With the Japanese driven off the Aleutians, the Eleventh Air 
Force built new bases, including one on Attu, developed others, 
and improved its supply lines. Thousands of American troops 
manned these bases all along the chain, and they did not like their 

Of volcanic origin, the Aleutians are barren except for tundra, 
a grass mat overlying swamplands, and low shrubs. West of Kodiak 

there is not a tree in sight. Troops on Ami became so homesick 
for a tree that the camouflage section built one and dubbed it 
"Ami National Forest." 

Peculiar to the Aleutians are the Williwa winds. They are nearly 
always accompanied by rain and fog which seem literally to boil 
out of the atmosphere suddenly and without warning. Flying was 
extremely hazardous in this weather, and so was ground activity. 
Men literally crawled on their hands and knees to get from one 
point in camp to another. In winter they wore Arctic fur-Hned 
parka and hood all day and even in summer they wore Arctic 
field jackets. The islands were under constant fog, reducing vis- 
ibility to about fifty feet. 

Consequently, the troops spent most of their spare time indoors. 
In their Quonset huts they played blackjack and poker, read books 
or magazines, or wrote letters. Letters were extremely important 
in this dreary environment. From one Army post alone, 20,000 
letters a day were posted by the soldiers, and sent out by ship or 
air when the weather permitted. The Army and Navy did every- 
thing possible to improve mail service. Every letter a soldier re- 
ceived was shared by all his buddies. "That makes 'em last longer/' 
remarked one man. 

All Army and Navy installations in the Aleutians were covered 
by American Red Cross field directors and assistant field directors 
who concentrated upon the solution of servicemen's personal prob- 
lems. Hundreds of letters and radio messages went out from Red 
Cross huts to home-town chapters all over the United States on 
behalf of these isolated men. 

For a long while the Army considered the Aleutians too wld 
and rugged for Red Cross girls. But when Edith Newman of Troy, 
New York, an assistant field director assigned to Adak, bore up 
well under the hardships, the Army requested more like her. By 
the fall of 1944 there were nine Red Cross girls on the Islands 
with ten additional ones requested. Elizabeth Bates of Highland 
Park, Michigan, a hospital recreation worker, served on a tiny 
island, one of the most westerly in the chain. 

In the following narrative, Helen Cadwalader of Baltimore, Red 
Cross staff assistant, describes the bleak Aleutians as die and her fel- 
low Red Cross workers experienced it: 

We stepped out of the army transport plane that flew us down 
from the mainland, at 4 KM. on an early January day. Wrapped 
up like sausages in sweaters, ski-pants and clumsy parkas, we still 
clung to our uniform caps with Red Cross emblems. After a 


month of travel, we were at our final destination. Home for a 

"Girls, by golly three of them!" The soldiers stared. 

We took our first look around. Could this be that dismal Aleu- 
tion area we'd been warned about so gloomily? Why, it was 

The sun was about to set, and over the huge, craggy peaks 
hung a gold haze. Pink clouds drifted across the wide sweep of 
treeless tundra. In the background was a sheet of deep purple 
water, with sparkling whitecaps. We glanced at each other. 
Wonderful, our winks said happily. 

We were driven over jolting roads in a muddy command car 
to the station hospital, where we were to live with the nurses. 
"Sorry the roof blew off this car, but we had a storm the other 
night," said our driver. We huddled deeper into our hoods and 
shook a bit. You couldn't get around it; it was cold. 

The hospital was a sprawling array of Quonset huts well dug 
into the ground, and connected by long enclosed ramps, or 
wooden walkways. Snow had drifted in ankle-deep in our ramp, 
and we had to tug to get our hut door open. Inside, it was bare 
and cold, but sunny with yellow paint. Beds, a couple of rough 
chests and tables, tin shelves with hanging space beneath, two 
stoves and a venerable push-pedal organ! 

I sat down on an empty crate and played "Chopsticks." It 
sounded wheezy and mournful. Marian stopped unpacking and 

A day or two later, the Special Service officer came to drive 
us to the main Army post and show us the service club in which 
we were to work as hostesses. It proved to be a sizeable log 
building with a big rough stone fireplace at one end, a hallway 
and tiny music room at the other. And it was crowded with men. 

"Hello," we said, a trifle shy before hundreds of eyes that 
refused to meet ours. The eyes goggled at us as if their owners 
thought we weren't looking, but turned suddenly away if we 
glanced in their direction. 

Someone turned on the juke box, and the braver boys asked 
us to dance. They stammered, and even blushed. Dancing, you 
could feel them trembling all over. 

"It's been two years since I've danced," they apologized over 
and over. "And in these heavy leather boots . . . and on a con- 
crete floor ..." We girls weren't finding it easy, either. They 
couldn't tell if we stepped on their toes, but we were not that 


The days began to fly. First, we wanted to make our club 
attractive. Curtains had been ordered four months earlier; so 
had a complete floor of dark red tile, to cover the dusty con- 
crete. But they were "on the dock at Seattle." Shipping prior- 
ities gave scant recognition to a recreational fixture, and we 
simply had to wait. 

Gradually we began to absorb Army life in its details and to 
get the men sorted outtheir names, their homes, their families, 
their branch of service, their company problems. 

And always the ferocious weather, and the monotony. Cold, 
snow, sleet, rain, mud, and more snow. Williwas that lift you 
off your feet, knock you down and slide you yards across the 
ice. Pitch black nights when, if your flashlight fails, you drop 
abruptly into foxholes where you'd have sworn there were none. 

We racked our brains eternally to think of something to inter- 
est or amuse these weary Aleutian soldiers. We held ping-pong 
tournaments, singles and doubles; a pool tournament; chess, 
checkers, bridge contests. We held talent shows, encouraged jam 
sessions among the musicians. And nightly, we smiled until our 
faces cracked, danced till our feet ached, admired sweethearts' 
photographs, listened to troubles, offered shoulders to weep on, 
romped and enthused and joked to the din of the juke box and 
the rattle of bowling balls and the howl of the wind outside. 

What little spare time we had was devoted to laundry, letter- 
writing, and trying to get our stoves to burn without exploding 
and throwing soot all over our clothes. We had a full day off 
every Monday, and when the weather was tolerable, a group 
of us would tramp miles out over the tundra hummocks, or visit 
the boys at the outposts, or climb to the radar station on the 
mountain, or shoot ptarmigan, squirrels and ducks. Monday, too, 
was our day to see a movie the early show, usually followed 
by "hog hips and cackleberries" [ham and eggs] gaily cooked 
up in the nearest messhall. 

But there wasn't much time left for ourselves. The boys at the 
paint shop were giving a party; would the girls come? How 
about supper with the quartermaster boys on Tuesday? And the 
Navy base Wednesday? And the finance office boys 'want us to 
drop in after work Thursday night. 

GI Joe, looking hurt because we would consult our calendar 
and name a day two weeks off as our first free day, would re- 
mark: "You gals have the best go on the post. All you do is 
play and get paid for it!" 

Little he knew how exhausting our "playing" could be. 


Eventually, spring came to the Arctic, galoshes could be dis- 
carded, and the roads improved. Softball games began to blos- 
som after chow time in the long, light evenings; the sun began 
to meet itself coming and going in its quick swing around the 
top of the world. 

Slowly, changes began to take place on the post. New faces 
appeared, as the long-awaited replacements arrived and took over 
for the men going back to the States. The slang and the jokes 
in the service club changed, as did the phonograph records, and 
"Mairzy Doats" was heard more often, "Paper Doll" became 
part of the past. 

Going down to see the boats pull out was an exciting but 
somewhat forlorn experience. There are your friends, grinning 
blissfully and hanging over the rail. "See you in Times Square!" 
"Look me up at the Paladium in L. AJ" "Michigan, here I cornel" 

You're glad, for their sakes. But you know that the club won't 
be the same. Not without Sammy, and Al, and Miguel. Good-by, 
Pop . . . good-by to you, Little Ugly . . . and Speed, and Alabam', 
and Shorty. 

Oh, well, someday it'll be your turn! 


Chapter X 



the strip. No one objects. In fact, they expect us. There are al- 
ways four or five ambulances and several jeeps parked In a Kne 
off the runway. We play only a small part at this big air base, but 
the cold drinks are welcomed by men returning after hard-hitting 
combat hours in the air. 

As we stop our car and stretch our legs after the long drive 
over muddy, rutted roads, the men waiting on the line stop and 
stare at us. We are still somewhat of a novelty up here, dressed 
in khaki shirts and culottes and army boots. We are used to being 
an oddity, so we pay no attention. Besides, we are excited about 
the mission. The tension of waiting for the planes to come in 
is great. 

As we wait we can hear the radio in the intelligence tent 
crackling. Now we hear code, then a voice from a plane break- 
ing in. Then rasping static. 

Soon a captain we know and several lieutenants saunter over 
and lean against our truck to pass the time of day and kid with 
us. We ask if we are on time or if there has been any change 
in the ETA (estimated time of arrival). We are told we are right 


on time. An officer walks out of the intelligence tent and conies 
toward us. He laughs and shakes his head. 

"It sore got pretty rugged up there," he says. "They were 
jumped by plenty of Zeros," 

We quickly ask if anyone has been hurt or lost and he tells 
us that, as far as he knows, one ship was shot down over the 
target and another had one engine shot out. One of the planes 
staved behind to protect the crippled ship. We begin to feel 
worried and wonder who was in the plane shot down. But we 
change the subject and reach for a cigarette. 

As we talk, more and more men collect near the strip, "sweat- 
ing out" the return of the bombers. We see the "Doc" near the 
ambulances, waiting for any emergency. We see ground officers 
and crash crews standing restlessly along the strip. Some wear 
khaki shirts and long trousers, others only shorts or dirty fa- 
tigue pants with tanned and sunburned chests and arms bare. 

Now and then a dog darts out and Is chased back. The sun is 
high and beats down on the brown dry earth and metal runway. 
Everybody is marking time, smoking and talking and staring 
into the sky. Fighter planes fly by in formation, then some trans- 
port planes, but all eyes are searching for the bombers. 

In the distance a persistent droning becomes louder and we see 
four specks against the clouds. The watchers, with hands shading 
eyes, grow tense as the bombers draw near and peel off to circle 
the field. Landings are tricky after planes have gone through 
bursts of ack-ack and battled enemy fighters. 

The planes look large and graceful against the strong blue sky 
as they circle In the traffic pattern. The sunlight builds silver 
whirls of the propellers. The first plane banks and floats In on its 
flaps, wheels feeling for the ground. The rubber hits the metal 
strip with a grunt and the plane rumbles down the runway with 
motors roaring. Someone near you draws in his breath. 

"Look at those holes!'* he says. 

You stare in fascination at the holes in the side of the plane. 
The captain turns to you and tells you that when the four planes 
have landed you can cross the runway and start making the 
rounds with cold drinks. He says he will have a sergeant show 
you to the revetments where the planes are parked. 

Another plane lands and taxies by with the top turret rolled 
back and the gunner standing up, Kands clasped together wav- 
ing them to indicate a victory. Everybody yells and waves. 

"Hey!" someone shouts, "this one's coming in with a red 
light.** Everyone crowds close to the runway to see. They know 


what that signal meanswounded or dead aboard. And men start 
to follow, some running, others slowly, a bit hesitant. 

You, too, walk slowly in the direction of the ambulance, hop- 
ing not to get too close. It's your closest touch with war. The 
plane turns off the strip and pulls up beside the ambulance. You 
see several men disappear into the beUy of the ship and reappear 
carrying a limp, bloody body in their arms which they place 
gently on a stretcher. Presently the ambulance pulls away, and 
once again the crowd turns back to watch the planes landing. 

"Was it bad?" you ask. 

"Yeah, plenty!* 7 someone answers. "One 20-millimeter shell 
burst in the ship and got one of the waist gunners. Nice kid, 
too just had a baby last week. That stuff sure is tough on the 

You feel sort of sick and say helplessly: "That's awful," and 
you hang your head and look steadily at a pebble on the ground. 
Then you slowly walk back to the crowd watching arrival of 
more of the bombers. 

Now another plane comes in, the gun turret shot away. Lucky 
gunner just got a scratch. You think, as that plane goes by, how 
strange is fate. One burst of a shell in a large ship hits a boy and 
kills him. And here is a gunner protected only by a plexi-glass 
turret. It is blown off and he escapes with a scratch. 

You think of the time a captain you know, flying a Liberator, 
crashed in the water and went under 30 feet, hitting a coral reef. 
He and the navigator managed to get out, but the rest of the 
crewmen were killed. Or the same sort of accident where an- 
other Liberator, shot down, crashed in the sea, killing the pilot 
and co-pilot, while the others got free. 

As you stand there, lost in thought, the M.P.'s start to push 
the crowd back. A ship is coming in with a yellow light. It is 
the crippled plane with one engine shot out. The yellow light 
means it needs plenty of extra room to land. All the men with 
vehicles start the motors and back up a hundred yards. The plane 
lands, swerves to one side. The crowd tenses. But the pilot stead- 
ies the plane and with everyone cheering he taxies safely down 
the runway. 

Now the first formation is in and it is time for us to start 
work. We rush into our truck and speed down the runway to 
the revetment area. We pull into one revetment at the same time 
the intelligence section jeep arrives. We drive to the side of the 
plane while ground-crew men begin clearing the guns. 

We wait at a discreet distance while the men get out of the 


plane and go over to the intelligence officer. They are a motley- 
looking crew. Most of them wear long khaki "zoot suits," long, 
drab coverall affairs. They all have guns slung on shoulder hol- 
sters. They carry barracks bags full of emergency stuff for forced 
jungle landings, parachutes, knives, first-aid equipment. The pilot 
carries a businesslike briefcase. They drop their heavy gear on 
the ground and crowd around the jeep. They all seem to be 
talking at once. After the interrogation is over they turn and, 
seeing us, let out a yell. 

"Come and get it, boys. The Red Cross gals are here.** By this 
time we have started to ladle out ice cold drinks and open pack- 
ages of cookies. As we serve the boys and look at them, safe on 
the ground, it seems completely unbelievable to us that they can 
fly a machine as monstrous and big as the one before us. They 
are all young kids, mostly younger than we are. To hear them 
talk of the raid or the Jap Zeros is like hearing a bunch of col- 
lege boys discuss a football scrimmage. 

"I'll be damned, but I never saw those Zeros," one will say. 
"The first I noticed of that Zeke that shot at me was when I 
saw the tracer bullets coming right at me. Boy, what a feeling! 
I thought that was IT for sure, but I pushed her away down and 
came up on the other side. And when I came up a P-38 had 
closed in. Boy, I don't know what we'd do without those pea- 
shooters. That fighter of ours came right in and gave a burst 
and wham, did that Zeke go up in flames! We were shooting like 
mad at another off our other side, but it streaked off! Aw, they 
sure won't fight when it's dead loss on their side." Then he shakes 
his head and makes a sucking noise with Ms mouth. "One got 
Sam's motor!" 

"Yeah, I know," is the quick reply, "but his cannon blew the 
Jap right up. What's one motor against a dead ship?" 

One of the boys walks over and asks: "Say, who went down 
over the target? I am pretty sure it was one of our ships." 

"Boy, those Red Cross gals are strictly on the ball; I've never 
been so thirsty in all my life." 

"Well, it was as rough today as Fd ever like to see it," a short, 
curly-headed gunner says. 

"You ain't just a woofin! Something burst right outside our 
ship and shook us up so bad I thought we'd been hit," said the 

"Listen to him talk/* says the pilot. "You ought to see that Joe 
when we go over the target. He pulls his steel helmet down over 
Ms eyes so he can't see the ack-ack bursts!" 


"Nuts! I always keep watching you out of the corner of my 
eye. When the ack-ack blows your head off I want to be ready 
to take over." J 

They laugh because they think that kind of talk is very funny. 
One of them chimes in and says: "You know, I think the Japs 
are getting mad at us." He slaps his thigh and holds out his cup 
for a refill. r 

They keep on kidding about what has happened or they chide 
us about our graceless army boots or tell us what dopes they 
think we are for coming up here of our own free will. Then the 
mess track comes along and they hop on and we speed to the 
next revetment. 

Perhaps this is the plane that had the casualty and the whole 
atmosphere is different. The men don't kid, but take their drinks 
and cookies and keep saying; "One burst of ack-ack. Boy, he 
was a good kid!" 

We stand off at a distance and never eater into the conversa- 
tion. We can't mourn for him. We didn't know him. We have 
no right. All we can do is feel depressed and awful and stand 

Finally we puU away and go to the next plane. TMs one has 
the holes in it but no casualties. Their bombs did a good job. 
Here the men are full of wisecracks and joke about the stupid 
Japs and ack-ack and kid us. We get out and look over their 
ship. It is a twin-engined medium bomber with the head of a 
shark painted on the nose and the body of a luscious female 
nude painted on the other side. Running under the nude are 
holes from the ack-ack. Looking at the ship makes us realize 
what the boys have been through and we can't believe they can 
joke like that when such a short time ago well, it had been 
rough up there. 

We pull out and continue our rounds. Now, finally, we have 
one more revetment to visit. As we drive in we see some of the 
maintenance crew standing around under a tent built on the side 
next to the high bank of the revetment. We pull up and stop and 
call out, "Where's the ship?" 

A GI gets up from a cot on which he had been sitting. He 
comes out from under the tent and looks at us* 

"Are you kidding?" he calls. 

"What do you mean?" we answer. 

"Not much, except you won't see that ship around again. Itfs 
a dead duck." & 

You stop a minute, realizing how stupid you are. Your heart 


contracts, your stomach feels like a piece of lead. "You mean . , . 
But of course you must . . . This was the plane shot down." 

"Yeah," the GI answers bitterly. 

You're frightened, but you ask, "Who was flying It?" 

"Captain ." 

"Pete! Why, he wasn't supposed to fly today. Not Pete! They 
couldn't get him. No, I can't believe it. He could fly too well. 
No . . ." 

You can't talk any more. You press your foot on the starter 
and stare at the empty revetment. 

"What is the matter with her?" you hear someone exclaim. 
And someone who knows answers: "Shut up, you fool! She had 
a date with him tonight! " 

From "We Meet the Missions," by Annette Robin of New 
York City, staff assistant in New Guinea, in the Red Cross Courier. 

The first unit of Red Cross hospital workers arriving in northern 
New Guinea created quite a stir in GI ranks. They were: Doris 
Daniels, Bowling Green, Kentucky; Mary Buckley, Scranton, Penn- 
sylvania; and Betty Pasternack, New Rochelle, New York. Attached 
to an evacuation hospital, they were flown over the "hump" the 
formidable Owen Stanley Range together with a group of Army 
nurses. AU were dressed in culottes and long-sleeved khaki shirts 
with dark jeep hats covering blonde, brown, and black hair. 

As the girls climbed Into trucks that were to carry them through 
endless clouds of thick dust, a jeep full of Navy officers stopped 
short in front of them. The men gazed silently at the group of Red 
Cross girls and Army nurses. After a moment or two, one of them 
found voice to exclaim: "White women! White women!" 

As the khaki-clad girls bounced over the narrow, bumpy road, 
soldiers all along the way cheered and whistled, and as the girls 
smiled and waved, there was more cheering and whistling. 

In New Guinea nothing stood still except perhaps the jungle air. 
This was a war of movement, with advance positions constantly 
being moved forward. As soon as the Japanese were blasted out of a 
coastal position or pushed back a couple of thousand yards from the 
beach, a defense perimeter was established. 

Then came the backbreaking task of subduing this part of the 
jungle. The heat and dampness were conducive to slow motion and 
lisdessness, but there was a job to be done, and everybody worked, 
even the fuzzy-wuzzies who performed much of the heavy labor 
under white men's direction. And the Red Cross personnel kept up 
the pace set by the Army. 

Camp sites were cleared amid scrubby bush, kunai grass, banyan 
trees, and tangled vines, with row upon row of tents winding far 
Into the dark interior. Engineering outfits, manning bulldozers and 
working with tar in the blazing tropical sun, built roads, some fol- 
lowing native paths the GFs only a few days before had wrested 
from the enemy. Starting from scratch, in a matter of days, a whole 
new station came into being mess halls, office space, warehouses, 
docks, hospitals, and Red Cross clubs and canteens. And simulta- 
neously with all this building activity, training pursued its usual In- 
tensive and rugged course amphibious warfare demanded it. 

Even though the jungle was cleared, and a semblance of civiliza- 
tion created, New Guinea was by no means ideal for white women. 
The Army, once it permitted them in a secured forward area, could 
guarantee Red Cross girls protection from the Japanese, but neither 
the Army nor any other agency could shelter them from the hard- 
ships and discomforts inherent in the jungle. These they had to 
share with the GFs who had the added job of fighting the wily, 
ruthless foe. The jungle often was so dense one could hardly see 
ten yards ahead. It rained steadilyin sheets, almost horizontally. 
Clothes, particularly shoes, rotted quickly. Besides the rains, there 
were the oppressive heat, dust, mud, mosquitoes and insects which 
did not distinguish between a male and a female ankle. There, too, 
were horrible jungle noises at night and indescribable jungle odors. 
Red Cross girls, as well as GFs, suffered from bad colds, ear Infec- 
tions, boils, and skin infections as a result of the "wet." They dosed 
themselves against malaria, typhus, jungle rot, and other tropical 
diseases. And atabrine-yellow complexion was the hallmark of service 
on New Guinea. 

Out of the jungle blossomed clubs, canteens, and hospital recrea- 
tion rooms showing the influence of Red Cross girls. In July, 1944, 
there were on New Guinea and neighboring islands thirty-two on- 
post clubs, seven canteens, and eleven clubmobiles, and many others 
were being planned. A Red Cross club, usually a hut of native con- 
struction, stood along a road where, because of heavy troop traffic, 
its services reached the most men. The names of some became well- 
known among thousands of troops: "Shangri La," "The Circus 
Tent," "The Bomb Dump," "47* Heaven." Many closed down* 
when the units they once served moved to more advanced areas. On 
special occasions and holidays these clubs were decorated with palms 
and staghorns, a parasitical growth with large green leaves. Red 
Cross girls In white blouses and GI slacks added the feminine touch. 

Canteens serving food generally were located on air strips. These 
huts appeared as if by magic, served their purpose while the strip 


functioned, then closed their doors for good. Their customers were 
restricted to the transient personnel passing through the base or 
"sweating out" transportation passengers and the crews of fighting 
planes and transports. The larger bases had several canteens serviced 
from a central kitchen where a food production line functioned from 
early morning till late afternoon, turning out sandwiches, doughnuts, 
coffee, fruit juice, and cookies. Many lunches were made up daily 
for the crews taking off on long flights; they Included coffee or 
fruit juice kept in the plane's thermos jug. 

Red Cross hospital service in the Southwest Pacific theater kept 
pace with the movement of hospitals to the advanced areas. In July, 
1944, there were 232 American Red Cross girls giving service in 
both Army and Navy hospitals and aboard hospital ships plying the 
coastal waters of New Guinea. Fully seventy-five per- cent of them 
worked in New Guinea's muck and mire. Their many activities had 
a single purpose: to help patients get the best possible benefit from 
the excellent care provided by the medical corps. Working long 
hours, they carried out this purpose by assisting patients to solve 
their personal and family problems, and bringing relaxation from the 
tedium of hospital life with handicraft and recreation approved by 
doctors. They transformed crude buildings into comfortable recrea- 
tion spots where patients could while away many a lonely hour by 
reading, writing, playing ping-pong, and from time to time enjoying 
special programs. These recreation huts were made inviting by can- 
vas chairs painted in bright colors, a piano, and flower vases made of 
large biscuit tins painted white. 

Even off-duty hours were strenuous, as Stephanie Spector, of the 
Bronx, staff assistant, informs us: 

As soon as night settles, the New Guinea army comes a-calling. 
The droves of jeeps up and down the battered hill smack of down- 
town traffic. White-starched shirts are pressed, the leggings fas- 
tened trimly, perfume is sprinkled across clean if not latest-styled 
coiffures, and sometimes a rebel green bow. They dance at non- 
commissioned officers' clubs. They dance at the Allied officers' 
clubs, on ships, and of course, In Red Cross clubs. They sit soak- 
ing and dripping on rainy nights out in the open, feet cemented 
In the mud, watching a Red Cross movie with the fellows. Once 
a Frank Sinatra picture was showing in the neighborhood, and 
some practical GFs set out hospital cots for the girls to swoon on. 

And then there were the Red Cross clubmobile girls about whom 
one of tiiem, Ellin Brooke, of Philadelphia, wrote: 

This strange Island of New Guinea ... If we are not being 
smothered with dust, we are plowing through the mud; sometimes 
we have both. It's the only place I've ever been in where you 
can wade through mud to your knees and have dust in your eyes* 
When the bridge goes out, we ford the river. We try to "hit the 
road" no matter what the circumstances. When we get hot, wet 
and tired, covered with grime and dust, the face and words of 
one little private standing there looking up at us comes back: 
"Lady . . . this is the first really good thing I've had to eat in two 
dap . . . and oh, lady, this is the first cold drink I've had in . . * 
well, I don't know when." 

In the over-all picture of defeating Japan, there were sound, even 
urgent, military reasons for the campaign to recover the Philippine 
Islands. There was also a moral reason as General MacArthur pointed 

". . . The American flag flew over the Philippines before the war. 
It is our duty and obligation and a matter of national honor to 
liberate the Filipinos as quickly 
as possible. American prestige in 
the entire Orient is at stake." 

This quotation helps to ex- 
plain General Mac Arthur's single- 
mindedness in the New Guinea 
campaign. His eyes and the eyes 
of all participating military and 
naval forces were ever turned 
toward the Philippines. The 
long, hard way started at Mel- 
bourne, MacArthur's first head- 
quarters in southern Australia; 
led northward through Queens- 
land to Port Moresby on the 
southern coast of. Papua; pushed 
through mud and blood across 
the Owen Stanley Range to 
Buna and Gona where the Papuan campaign came to an end 
in the closing weeks of 1942. From there the road wound to Lae 
and Salamaua where the New Guinea campaign beganthen 
stretched all along New Guinea's coast with side expeditions to New 
Britain and the Admiralty Islands. 

The demonstrated ability of General Kenney's Allied air forces 
and Admiral Kincaid's Seventh U.S. Fleet to control the waters 



north of New Guinea was of incalculable value. With the Japanese 
thus cut off from reinforcements and supplies, MacArthur was 
spared the ordeal of laboring through the length of New Guinea's 
jungled interior (approximately fifteen hundred miles). Along the 
coast, he carried one Japanese stronghold after another by amphibi- 
ous operations. 

His strategy of "landing where they ain't" won a succession of 
victories with a minimum of casualties. The Japanese on New Britain 
thought an invading force would have great difficulty in landing on 
a certain stretch of coast and so concentrated their main strength 
elsewhere. But the First Marines attacked at the more difficult spot, 
and won their beachhead. On the Halmaheras, flank point for the 
invasion of the Philippines, the Japanese had built up a formidable 
force of crack troops. MacArthur simply put his troops ashore a 
short distance to the north on Morotai Island where the invasion 
was much easier. MacArthur never made a direct attack against a 
heavily fortified position when he could land his troops behind the 
Japanese lines. He made the Japanese attack, mowing them down 
as they came on, and each time they lost heavily in casualties, for 
in war it usually is the attacker who pays the cost. At Buna and 
Gona, at Lae and Finschhafen and farther up the coast, and in New 
Britain, planes and PT boats prevented beleaguered Japanese gar- 
risons from receiving reinforcements and supplies* Those troops not 
wiped out were driven into the interior of the jungle and left to 
"wither on the vine," without hope of escape. 

Island hopping was practiced not only in the Southwest Pacific 
under MacAithur, but also in the South Pacific under Admiral 
Halsey and in the Central Pacific under Admiral Nimitz. This 
strategy paid off repeatedly in the Gilberts, the Marshalls, the Caro- 
lines and the Marianas, giving Allied forces control over New 
Guinea, the Solomons and neighboring islands, the Bismarck Sea, and 
over a vast area of the Central Pacific. 

Through preponderant air and naval strength, island hopping en- 
abled Allied forces to capture a relatively few key island bases along 
the routes to Tokyo without attempting to touch hundreds of other 
islands and atolls under Japanese control. For the most part the hops 
were made in terms of hundreds of miles. Major strong points such 
as Truk and Rabaul were by-passed, subjected to repeated poundings 
from the air, and sealed off from all physical contact with the Jap- 
anese mainland or other sources of supply. 

A not inconsiderable share of glory for the New Guinea victory 
belongs to a little-known outfit, the Second Engineer Special Brigade. 
"MacArthur's Amphibs," as the GFs called them, operated hun- 


dreds of landing barges, many of which they themselves had as- 
sembled in a specially built plant at Cairns, Australia. Their craft 
included the fifty-foot LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) carry- 
ing 100 men; the thirty-six-foot LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle and 
Personnel), the amphibious duck, and an amphibious tank called 
the Buffalo capable of carrying fifty men over coral reefs, sand, hell, 
and high water. 

They did not handle the larger LST's (Landing Ship Tank) and 
LCIL's (Landing Craft Infantry Large). These were operated ex- 
clusively by the Navy in transporting invasion troops and tanks 
over long distances, as was done when Vella Lavella in the Solomons, 
Rendova, Guam, Kiska and many other Japanese-held islands in the 
Pacific were invaded. 

The men of the Second Engineer Special Brigade were specially 
trained in amphibious warfare. These amphibian soldiers not only 
put the troops on the beach but also brought in their supplies and 
took part in the initial fight to secure a beachhead. In all the major 
landings since June, 1943, t ' ie SESB have won many awards for 
valor, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

The American Red Cross covered MacArthur's Amphibs as well 
as all other outfits. In July, 1943, there were 387 field directors in 
the Southwest Pacific theater, and more were on the way. 

Covering Red Cross activities in New Guinea in the fall of 1943 
were Robert E. Lewis of Philadelphia, director of Red Cross public 
information service in the theater, and Harry E. Poague of Minne- 
apolis, Red Cross photographer. In line of duty both were instantly 
killed in an airplane crash at Port Moresby on November 26, 1943. 
To succeed Bob Lewis, a fellow Philadelphian and close friend, 
Lewis H. Bowen, gave up his position as Red Cross national publicity 
director. Poague was succeeded by Richard Day of Kirkwood, Mis- 
souri, who received a Silver Star for an act of gallantry at the 
time of the amphibious landing at Wakde. 

Through the months a general pattern of Red Cross service was 
developed in the New Guinea campaign. Four or five field directors 
were assigned to each division. Some landed with assault troops on 
D-Day; others, depending on the wishes of individual commanding 
officers, went in after the initial landing. Upon wading ashore, the 
field directors set up beach canteens. 

Over and over again the timely distribution of Red Cross supplies 
proved essential. It was appreciated particularly in the vast spaces of 
the Pacific where the constant movement of combat troops in their 
unending drive, over long distances and through difficult jungle, 


necessitated Army shipments streamlined as to food, ammunition, 
and military supplies. 

These priorities often delayed Army gratuitous issue during the 
early days or weeks of an operation. And the American Red Cross 
was able to meet emergencies because it moved its own supplies in 
fairly small quantities stowed away in FT boats, LST's, LCM's, and 
other craft, in spaces not otherwise occupied by the Army. Field 
directors accompanying a unit into a forward area carried along a 
large variety of items, the little necessities that fighting men need 
when the day's fighting is over, such as tooth paste, razors, shaving 
cream, toothbrushes, combs, and most essential, canteen supplies for 
quick lunches. 

Red Cross men found tactical moving a grueling business. There 
were agonizing days of preparation and loading. Supplies had to be 
secured for any eventuality. Each move meant packing, water- 
proofing, and marking plainly for quick identification. Boxes had to 
be reduced to a size that could be carried by one man, at most by 
two men. And aboard humid and overcrowded transports and equip- 
ment-carrying barges there were sleepless nights. Units embarked 
from one coastal jungle and after several days at sea disembarked 
at another. This process went on week after week, month after 
month, in MacArthur's inexorable drive to redeem his pledge to the 
Filipinos: "I shall return." 

A graphic description of one of these amphibious operations 
based on personal experience was contained in a narrative report 
from New Guinea by Red Cross Field Director Dudley F. Unkefer, 
of Johnson City, Tennessee: 

Preliminary preparations over, we boarded our ship in the heat 
of the day, and were soon to learn that this same heat never 
abated one degree, day or night, in the hot hold of that blacked- 
out vessel. 

We sailed for what seemed an indeterminable length of time 
to wake up very early one morning to an excited hush and the 
announcement that this was the day. Our few belongings were 
quickly assembled and packed, a good breakfast quickly swal- 
lowed, and a last minute check made of equipment. 

In the thick murk of the early tropical dawn, our convoy 
moved cautiously shoreward. A subdued excitement fell over the 
troops as land, strange land, loomed up ahead. Out of the skies 
came echelon after echelon of dive bombers. Warships maneu- 
vered into position, and another invasion was on. Peeling oif and 
plummeting out of the heavens came the planes with a shrill 


whistle and a roar. Then the distant thunder of deck guns began. 
The softening-up of enemy resistance had started. Tracers 
streaked across the water, a red glow followed the impact of each 
bomb and shell, debris flew skyward. 

Now our time had come. Barges lowered away. Men watched 
with tense faces and taut bodies. We scrambled overboard, down 
landing nets into the waiting barges. We shoved off. The water 
seemed alive with craft as we headed towards the beach. A beau- 
tiful palm-lined black sand beach, reminding me of a colorful 
"Travel-talk" movie of these Pacific islands. The barges grated 
on the sand, ramps lowered away, and soldiers plunged into the 

As they pushed forward a, relaxation of the tenseness in the 
body overcame one like a wave of comfort. A few scattered 
shots were fired but each felt that the beachhead was secured and 
the climax had passed. 

As the sun crept skyward the beach became a very busy place. 
Supplies rolled in, barges broached and wrecked in the heavy 
surf, men sweated in the hurry of their tasks. Fortunately for us, 
the fifth barge to touch the beach with supplies carried a pile of 
boxes, each marked with the familiar red cross. We retrieved 
them from the depot into which they had been dumped and in 
1 60 minutes after the first soldier had touched the beach, cocoa 
and cookies were being dispensed to men. 

Two hundred and forty gallons of cocoa and innumerable cases 
of cookies disappeared into hungry GFs. Emergency dry rations 
were carried, but few that day stopped long enough to prepare 

Darkness and torrential downpour ushered in the night. Men 
slipped into jungle hammocks, excitement subsided, and idle 
thoughts were all that was left of the day's doings. 

Once the assault troops landed and knocked out enemy shore 
positions, the enormous task of unloading supplies and equipment 
from the landing craft and storing them in safe places began. This 
was the most complicated phase of an amphibious operation, handled 
for the Army by the trained men of the shore party and including 
the Navy's beach battalion, if a joint Army-Navy operation. When 
troops were put ashore for a campaign against a fanatical Japanese 
garrison, everything needed in the fight had to be delivered right 
behind them as they advanced inland. 

Red Cross field directors mingled with the crowd on the beach 
and, once they retrieved their supplies, followed the main body of 


troops pushing into the interior. Tropical rains made the battle areas 
vast quagmires. Jeeps, the pack mules of the jungle, often had to be 
pushed through bogs with caterpillar tractors. Each day found troops 
scattered in the jungle, and each day the Red Cross men found an 
opportunity to bring cookies or fruit cake, cold lemonade or fruit 
juices to sweating GFs during a lull in the fighting. Primitive com- 
munication made it very difficult for them to reach the widely dis- 
persed men and units, but they never gave up. 

For troops waiting to go into action and for troops who had 
been pulled out of the lines for a rest, Red Cross field directors 
provided simple recreation. Large ward. tents with sawdust spread 
on the earthen floor served as Red Cross recreation centers. Tents 
often were pitched in an area hacked out of a dense tangle of euca- 
lyptus, paupau, mango and coconut trees connected by twisting 
vines and meshed with jungle undergrowth. 

Inside one of these Red Cross tents, men, sweat pouring from 
face and shoulders, their trousers and heavy GI boots mud-caked, 
fought off swarms of strange insects flying into their eyes, buzzing 
around their ears, and taking root in their sweaty hair. Some sat 
on canvas chairs or bamboo benches listening to a phonograph play- 
ing nostalgic popular tunes from home, such as "Take Me Back to 
Where I Come From." Some were grouped around split-bamboo- 
pole tables reading old newspapers and magazines or writing letters. 
Some were at the crude snack bar in a corner munching on fruit 
cake and drinking cold lemonade. And still others were playing 
ping-pong, the steady click-click of the balls being heard above the 
drowsy chatter, the tinny phonograph music, the continuous artil- 
lery barrage, and the rhythmic pounding of the surf. A peaceful 
scene? Yes, in a way. But it was not wholly free of tension, as com- 
rades were dying not many yards beyond. The ever-present threat 
of the enemy was never lost to their minds. His entrenchments were 
but a stone's throw away. Often his attacking planes were over- 

Writing from one of these combat zones in New Guinea where 
his barge had just evacuated wounded soldiers, a field director said: 

As we landed [on the beach] three ambulances backed down 
the bank to the water's edge and onto the ramp of the rolling 
barge. Litters with wounded were quickly carried into the barge. 
Shorn of all clothing and possessions, the only thing these wounded 
clutched to their sides was a brilliant blue Red Cross convalescent 
kit with the familiar words, "A Gift of the American Red Cross." 


Because of the shortage of Army personnel and supplies, it was 
not always feasible for the military to provide adequately for the 
comfort and welfare of the wounded in the midst of battle. On these 
occasions, medical attention in its strictest sense absorbed all the time 
and energy of the Medical Corps personnel The attention that the 
American Red Cross was able to give to the physical comfort of 
these unfortunate boys thus met a very essentiaLneed. 

In combat zones too "hot" even for the brave Army nurses and 
Red Cross hospital women, Red Cross field directors gave friendly 
personal services to the wounded. They met casualties as they were 
brought into clearing stations direct from the battlefield and stayed 
at their side when tey were removed to the portable hospital, and 
later to the evacuation ship. They distributed cigarettes and replaced 
personal articles lost in battle. They also aided the overworked 
medical officers in the field hospitals by wielding a fan for hours 
over an operating table or holding a candle for a surgeon performing 
an emergency operation in the night. 

Equally important to morale were welfare services for the able- 
bodied in forward areas. In the midst of battle the full weight of 
communication between the serviceman and the outside world fell 
on the Red Cross field directors. There were no APO's in foxholes. 
Cases began to pile up soon after the first phase of an invasion was 
completed, and the troops settled down to a more routine Army life. 
The soldiers had not heard from their families, who at the same time 
were filled with anxiety about their men. Generally, a field director 
had a detachment of soldiers assigned to keep an eye on the recrea- 
tion tent and other activities while he tried to handle the individual 
problems as expeditiously as he could without secretarial help. Daily 
the total of those problems mounted until they consumed most of 
his working hours. In the year ending June 30, 1944, about 100,000 
domestic problems, involving help from local Red Cross chapters 
all over America, were handled by field directors in the Southwest 
Pacific. Traffic went both ways on this Red Cross bridge. Over the 
desks and through the hearts of Red Cross field directors in this 
theater passed thousands of cases initiated in the United States where 
the home chapter brought problems to the attention of the overseas 
field directors so they could talk with the men involved. In the 
same twelve-month period, field directors made emergency loans to 
approximately five thousand servicemen. Money, however, was not 
always necessary. The majority of the cases grew out of a lack of 
mail from either the soldier or his family. Piled on top of human 
frailties were the many disappointing factors of wartime communi- 


cations that made a f ertfle breeding ground for worry and fear over 
loved ones. 

Satisfaction in being able to serve these American heroes far from 
home, even in a small way, was the incentive that drove these Red 
Cross field directors on and on. Each day brought its own compensa- 
tion, as one New Guinea field director found: 

I received through the mail a letter, and a Christmas package 
addressed to the field director. The letter, from a mother of a 
soldier who died in the New Guinea campaign a year ago, re- 
quested that the gift be given to a soldier who perhaps had 
received little or nothing at Christmas time. The package was de- 
livered to the soldier's old company, and typical of GI philosophy, 
the gift was distributed to the entire squad of which the deceased 
soldier was formerly a member. 

The time came when Red Cross recreation specialists arrived to 
take over a field director's recreation and canteen tent. Later Red 
Cross girls appeared. The area had been firmly established and signs 
of "civilization" were creeping up on it. This was a hint to the field 
director that he ought to be thinking about moving out, for he was 
a pioneer. He then began laying plans for getting his supplies ready 
for the next amphibious landing. 

Field directors assigned to amphibian task forces were picked 
men. First of all, they had to be in the best physical condition as the 
going was tough. Being entirely on their own without supervision, 
they were required to have a thorough knowledge of Red Cross 
policy and procedures. Other qualifications included a willingness 
to do manual labor and share hardships; emotional stability, initiative, 
resourcefulness, and energy. 

To list the landings made by Red Cross field directors during the 
New Guinea campaign would be the same as summarizing the as- 
saults the Southwest Pacific amphibian and infantry troops made on 
Japanese strongholds since 1942: New Guinea Lae, Salamaua, Wau, 
Finschhafen, Saidor, Aitape, Hollandia, Wakde, Biak, Noemfoor, 
and Sansafor; New Britain Arawe, Cape Gloucester and Talasea; 
and Bougainville, the Admiralties and Morotal 

In July, 1944, Field Director Harold Templeman, of Cedar Rapids, 
Iowa, having trained with his men, made the jump with the para- 
troops at Noemfoor. Before jumping he tossed out seven bundles 
of Red Cross supplies so that he could begin operations immediately 
after landing. 

Field Director John Taylor, of New York City, a World War I 


veteran, accompanied the Australian and American troops who cap-> 
tured Salamaua, Japanese air and naval base, on September 12, 1943* 
He described his experience in the following letter: 

Greetings from Salamaua! As you know it was captured Satur- 
day night by isolated units. Early Sunday morning, on the first 
barges in, and in advance of the main body of troops, Leon Lewis 
[Norwich, Connecticut] and I had achieved priorities to take 
along a battalion cook, a one-burner gasoline 'stove, twenty-five 
gallons of water, coffee, sugar, canned milk, and a large tin of 
"Nice" biscuits, plus a case of cigarettes. 

We landed on the Salamaua isthmus and established ourselves 
along the beach road so that all the troops would pass us. We 
made coffee all day long, seventy gallons of it, gave out cigarettes 
and the sweet biscuits, put out our fire when it got dark, curled 
up on the beach on a tarpaulin with a wet Jap blanket over us 
and their marine uniforms for a pillow. 

Now I will start back. As you know, we set up our tents in 
Tambu Bay. We, or at least I, since Leo had to go back and get 
supplies, got into these ridges to see the battalions, a lung-breaking 

Friday I was told to be ready with coffee and doughnuts to get 
to the units moving down from the ridges and in toward our 
objective. I got ninety dozen doughnuts fried and forty gallons 
of coffee. The coffee I lost in the difficult landings we had to 
make; we saved the doughnuts, lost everything else and almost our 
lives. Got ahead of the troops, stood on a jungle path surrounded 
with booby traps, litter and dead Japs and gave out our dough- 
nuts to every infantryman passing. I lost our excellent "Kooie" 
can and two thermal units which had been given me, when the 
rowboat with a putt-putt, in which we were making the landing 
over reefs in treacherous surf, upset our boat just after we had 
taken off the doughnuts. 

Later in the day, in the dark, we almost lost our skipper when 
he was caught underneath the rowboat as we capsized on our 
home beach, caught by two great waves. I had a wonderful ride 
for about thirty feet on top of the wave which picked me out of 
the boat and carried me in until it broke. Then I got swept out to 
sea again, landing up against the boat in time to grab the skipper 
who never expected to see me. 

Previously in the week our tent had been badly riddled with 
shrapnel. Our installation is very near batteries that pounded the 
Japs all day long and all night through. Every afternoon between 


2:00 and 4:30 he retaliated. Tuesday the Jap got mad and threw 
In everything, wide of his battery objective, and we got the works. 
Ten duds around our tents, one shell burst over it, one tree-burst 
to one side and one sand-burst on the other. 

However, the duds increased and then everything was silent. 
Men came rushing down the road to dig us out or to throw the 
already dug earth over us for the final time. But we were in ex- 
cellent shape though covered with gook. I had just started taking 
my pail bath and got into the trench very naked, so that every- 
thing in the way of dirt flying around us stuck to me. 

We have had exemplary co-operation from the Army. Nothing 
has been too much trouble for those high up and those low down 
to do for us. We have gotten to the essential places first, so that 
we are now the gag, "the Army can't get you there but the Red 
Cross can." You should have seen the expression on the faces of 
the men, when, just coming down from the ridges and walking 
along, very dirty, without having eaten, they saw us with hot 
coif ee and something to eat. You should have seen the expression 
on Colonel Archie Roosevelt's face when, having directed the 
first landing barge in, he saw two Red Cross men jump out with a 
stove between them and a cook carrying his precious tire pump 
and gasoline at their side. 

In February, '1944, Lewis H. Bowen of Philadelphia and Arling- 
ton, Virginia, director of Red Cross public information service in 
the Southwest Pacific, visited two field directors in the Admiralty 
Islands to get their story of the Saidor landing in which they had 
participated on January 2, 1944. Their tent was pitched in the head- 
quarters area at Yamai, Admiralties, less than one-half mile from 
the northernmost fighting front. Bowen, who was accompanied by 
Red Cross Photographer Richard Day, stayed long enough to witness 
a fresh local victory the capture of Cape Iris. Their hosts were Field 
Directors Harry L. Stryker of Cleveland and Otto L. Petri of Mil- 
waukee, attached to the 3ind Division of Buna campaign fame. 

Bowen reported: 

We wouldn't have traded our last day and night at Yamai for 
any other experience. 

Following up a successful flanking attack the previous day, two 
companies of the regiment on the other side of the river had 
pushed their way up to Teteri village, exactly opposite Yamai 
across the inlet. Holding the line there for the night, they waited 
while the three-inch guns and the 105'$ behind us blasted every 


living thing off the cape, aided by an afternoon bombing attack 
carried out by Aussie-piloted medium bombers. 

Everyone smelled victory in the air r for that had been the mis- 
sionto take and to hold Cape Iris. The tenseness lifted noticeably. 
Colonel Bradley, truly beloved by all his men, came to dinner 
from the front lines, where he spent most of every day, to an- 
nounce victory. The cape was ours. The enemy was retreating 
up the coast on the double quick. No blackout tonight! But there 
was no cheering, just light conversation, smiles from one man to 
his neighbor, a few whistles. 

Earlier in the day seventy-five men, including the colonel him- 
self, had received notices to pack up the next day to go home. 

Victory and home! No wonder the "feel" of the camp changed. 

Suddenly, from the woods at our right came a startling crash 
of martial music. Out of the jungle road marched the complete 
regimental band, tubas and all, playing the "French National/' 
the colonel's favorite victory song. When they reached the clear- 
ing, four abreast, they made a snappy turn to the left and marched 
by the Red Cross tent, eyes straight ahead. 

Dressed in the ubiquitous green coveralls, the vizors of their 
jungle caps turned upward, and wearing brown music bags over 
their right shoulders, they looked for all the world like a Civil 
War band on the town square. Even to the small fife player 
bringing up the rear with two steps to his colleagues' one. 

Headlamps on jeeps, unused for six long weeks, provided light 
for the musicians. Across the inlet, the cape which every previous 
night had been swallowed by darkness, was dotted with the mov- 
ing lights of trucks and jeeps carrying supplies and fresh men to 
the forward troops on Iris point, at the tip of the cape. 

Lights were the order of the night. But practically everyone 
was too tired, with the excitement of Victory Day behind them, 
to take advantage of the luxury. After we chased the spiders, 
lizards and assorted insects out of our cots, tucked ourselves in 
the mosquito netting, all of us noticed the strange summer night's 
quietness. Crickets chirped. Bullfrogs croaked. All much the same 
as at home in July. 

When the First Marine Division invaded Cape Gloucester, New 
Britain, the day after Christmas, 1943, two Red Cross field directors 
landed with comfort and recreation suppEes in the second wave. 
They were Clarence R. Anderson, of Livingston, Montana, and 
Philip Layton, of Fort Morgan, Colorado. 

While Layton remained on the beach operating a canteen and 


directing newly arrived Red Cross field men who quickly pitched 
recreation tents, Anderson, a former school superintendent, went 
back and forth on an LST with casualties. 

After the Gloucester show, Major General W. H. Rupertus, com- 
manding the First Marine Division, wrote the following to Red 
Cross officials: 

"The field directors . . . have, through their untiring efforts and 
commendable co-operation in all the morale and recreational activi- 
ties of the First Marine Division, made for themselves a position not 
contemplated in any tables of organization, but realized now as 
being one that is a major factor in the welfare of the organiza- 
tion " 

General Rupertus must have thought of services such as those de- 
scribed in the following narrative report by Field Director Clarence 
R. Anderson: 

Pursuant to orders Mr. Weiner [Morris Weiner, Brooklyn] 
and I proceeded to Cape Sudest where we reported to Phil Lay- 
ton, who had been attached to the jth Marines for some months. 
As a combat team had been formed, including the yth, i ith, and 
iyth, and several other units of operations, we divided ourselves 
among them. I moved in with the iyth. 

We were part of a great invasion fleet of LST's, corvettes, 
cruisers and destroyers. Before dawn on December 26 we ap- 
proached Jap-held islands and the beach of New Britain where 
we were to land. 

The warships opened up with a bombardment that stretched 
for miles and blasted everything along the coast. It was a rare 
sight. Then bombers came in and unloaded their bombs. By then 
it was way past dawn but a curtain of smoke obscured the beach 
for miles. Marines from LCT's landed first, meeting resistance in 
only one place. Up to this time there had been no Jap resistance 
save a few shots from coastal guns. We ran in and beached fifty 
minutes later. Our Marines had already contacted the Japs a few 
hundred yards back and we could see one action over Target Hill. 
The beach was a mess; broken trees, mud, swamps and water 
made it almost impossible to unload the ships. Around two 
o'clock, before we had completely unloaded all cargo, we were 
ordered to pull out and "26" took our place on the beach. We 
were not out over fifteen minutes when Jap fighters and bombers 
came. I saw some Zeros (seven), one Jap bomber, and two of our 
own shot down. The LST next to us lost seven wounded and two 
dead caused by a bomb alongside. A destroyer was also hit. We 


got some machine-gun spray in our side. The action was intense 
with dog-fights, falling planes, parachutes, and so forth. 

As we were ordered off the beach so soon, we only had eight 
evacuees with us, so it was an easy matter to attend to their needs. 
We arrived at Cape Sudest late on December 27, and beached 
December 28. We were loaded up once again. Incidentally, the 
canteen set up on the beach at Cape Sudest serving cold drinks 
was one of the best things the Red Cross has done. Thousands of 
troops embarking there were served. 

We pulled off the beach again that evening. On this trip we 
hit a storm, after APO 322 but managed to beach the morning of 
December 30. Bombers were laying their eggs just a few hundred 
yards In. We unloaded and took on twenty-five wounded and 
started back, hitting the same stonn until we had passed 322. 1 had 
more to do this trip, but had everything that was needed. Two 
serious operations were performed on shipboard. Most of my time 
was spent with the patients. We arrived at Buna and anchored at 
10:30 P.M. on New Year's Eve. We beached at Cape Sudest the 
next morning. 

After seeing the wounded off, I sent for more supplies. These 
arrived just before the ship sailed again, carrying a very dangerous 
cargo, but not so many troops. During this trip we ran into an- 
other storm and had a hard time, getting to the beach on the 
morning of January 5. I spent several hours on the beach. I was 
prepared to stay in Gloucester, but after finding out we were 
to evacuate 250 wounded, I decided to stay on the ship. 

Around 4 P.M. we were shelled by Jap guns from around the 
point and had to pull out at once. And now began one of the 
most unique trips ever imagined. About 100 wounded were placed 
in quarters below decks and 150 in the tank deck. Remember, the 
ship had just discharged a huge cargo. Decks were muddy, dirty, 
and wet. Rain began coming down in sheets, leaking through, and 
we ran into a terrible storm that rocked and tossed the ship. 
Nearly all the patients were brought onto the ship on stretchers, 
naked with only a blanket, and with very few personal belongings. 
For the next forty-three hours everyone, doctors, corpsmen, crew, 
and Inyself, worked like Trojans with just a few hours of sleep. 
I was not supplied with enough kits for 256 men, so I broke 
them open and used each article where needed. In this way I had 
nearly everything needed. I ran short of reading material but 
managed to keep what I had going around. Handkerchiefs, wash 
cloths, ditty bags, and tooth brushes I could have used more. 

Besides these material things, I did every imaginable service to 

the wounded, from bedpans to helping with intravenous feeding, 
talking to them, answering them. The rocking and pitching of the 
ship was scaring many. 

One boy with a bullet through his eye and into his brain had 
to be strapped down. I came to him and put my hand on his 

"Please, fellow," he said, "take my straps off, take my bandage 

I talked to him awhile and finally got the bandage up over his 
good eye. He looked at me, and asked who I was, and I told him. 

"Please, Red Cross," he said, "keep your hand on me ... stay 
with me." 

I held my hand there for forty minutes until he went under 
with morphine. 

As I started down the line, hands went up all over the deck and 
wounded men made touching pleas for help with such remarks as, 
"Please, a glass [tin pan] of water, juice, candy, cigarettes"; "wash 
my face a little"; "give me a book, tooth brush, razor, handker- 
chiefs, gum"; "get me a bedpan or duck"; "please ask the doctor 
for morphine." 

I was fortunate in being able to help can't take time to tell you 
about all the cases. One nearly died from shock and gangrene 
in the arm, but American Red Cross plasma and whole-blood 
transfusions from the crew saved him. The smell of wounded was 
terrible, worse even than jungle smell, as they had lain in the 
front line in water, swamp, mud and rain for eleven days. 

Anyhow, we arrived back at Sudest at 2 A.M., January 7, and 
moved down to "503," but did not get beached and unloaded 
until around 2 P.M. Then we came back to Sudest, anchored, 
and have been taking on water and supplies and repairing engines. 
We had been on rationed water for three days and no fresh water 
showers; clothing was a problem, but we had fine food and 
plenty of juices. 

I believe the next few trips are going to be quite dangerous, 
from reports we have had. I intend to have some supplies sent to 
Gloucester and some aboard the ship. The needs up there [at 
Cape Gloucester] are terrific. Boys have to throw away even 
personal gear in going through swamps and quicksand, in lying in 
rain for days. It is the most terrible condition for fighting and liv- 
ing, I believe, of any place in the world. They need plenty of kits, 
clean clothes, and reading material. A canteen in the first days, 
serving cold and hot drinks, is a godsend. To see Red Cross men 
up this far doing a service has turned every officer and man in its 


favor. Doctors, corpsmen, crew, and captain of this ship have 
come to me personally and expressed their appreciation. 

After Gloucester, Saidor, and the Admiralties there were still other 
amphibious landings Hollandia, which was developed into a great 
jumping-off base for the Philippines, and Biak, Noemfoor, Sansafor,, 
and Morotai. 

And then came October 20, 1944. The day of the invasion of 
Leyte Island in the Philippines! The climax of two and one-half 
years of heart-breaking work, of gathering strength in men and 
arms, of training and organization, and of island hopping. This was 
the biggest show of all for General MacArthur's Allied forces, and, 
on a proportionate scale, the biggest single operation of the Aineri- 
can Red Cross in the Southwest Pacific theater. 

Forty Red Cross field directors, rnany of them veterans of pre- 
vious hops, landed on Leyte on A-Day. The first two Howard 
Larsen, of Baldwin, Long Island, and his team-mate, George Leech, 
of Clevelandwaded ashore only one hour after the first troops. 
Unarmed as usual, with their supplies loaded high on a jeep-and~ 
trailer, they were pinned down for more than hour by enemy sniper 
fire. Two hours later their Leyte cabana, set up in a coconut grove 
just back from the beach, was serving hot coffee with canned milk 
and sugar and cookies. 

Officers and enlisted men arriving on the beach in succeeding 
waves expressed enthusiastic surprise at finding the two Red Cross 
men ready to serve them. 

All day long two queues passed by the Red Cross canieen one 
of American soldiers, the other of Filipino men and women with 
babies and children, on their way from near-by b$rios to a camp 
set up for them by Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's U.S. Sixth 
Army. Children received milk and cookies, adults coffee and smokes. 
One patriarchal farmer hitched his scraggly water buffalo and calf 
to the Red Cross trailer before getting into line. 

General MacArthur shook hands with Larsen and Leech as he 
congratulated them for being of service so soon after H-Hour. By 
a coincidence Larsen served in France during World War I with 
the Rainbow Division commanded by General MacArthur. 

A large swamp separated the main hospital from the scene of ac- 
tion, making stretcher-bearing extremely difficult. This natural ob- 
stacle forced medical officers to do moire emergency work on the 
beaches than otherwise might have been necessary. They had the 
aid of two precious Red Cross products from the home front: 
surgical dressings and blood plasma. Neatly rolled and carefully 

packed by untiring hands in Red Cross chapters all over America, 
thousands of surgical dressings went into action immediately. Clear- 
ing companies, evacuation sections, portable hospitals, evacuation 
hospitals and LST's offshore were amply supplied. Medical officers 
said the first dressing packages bore labels of the following Red 
Cross chapters: California Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, 
Pasadena, and Santa Cruz; Michigan Calumet-Keweenaw, Torch 
Lake branch; Texas Anderson County, Harris County; and South 
Carolina-Rock Hill. 

Prompt use of blood plasma in hundreds of cases undoubtedly 
saved the lives of many wounded soldiers, according to Major 
William Buckland, of Wilke^-Barre, commanding the medical com- 
pany of the Second Engineer Special Brigade. Medical corpsmen 
continued giving plasma transfusions on an alligator, LVT (Landing 
Vehicle Tracked), that finally carried the wounded across the 
swamp to the hospital. 

On Armistice Eve, the American Red Cross opened its first service 
club in the Philippines. Located in the center of Tacloban, Leyte's 
capital, it was named for the late President Manuel Quezon. The 
latter's portrait was presented by President Sergio Osmefia during 
the opening ceremonies. 


g^fS-: 1TALY Vg^: 

Chapter XI 


James P. Shaw and Russell Bullard, stood amid the rubble of 
bombed-out Bizerte, Tunisia, discussing the impending invasion of 

"When are you going in, Jim?" asked Bullard. 

"Early with the CP [command post]." 

A common interest in youth had drawn them together when they 
first met as trainees at Red Cross National Headquarters in the fall 
of 1942 (Shaw had been director of the Neighborhood House in 
Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bnllard a high-school athletic director in 
Lake Worth, Florida). They later took their practice work to- 


gether at Fort Dix, shared a cabin on the ship taking the Second 
Armored Division to North Africa, and were tent mates on the 
Moroccan desert until amphibious training operations temporarily 
separated them in February, 1943, Shaw going to the 3oth Infantry 
Regiment and Bullard to a combat team of the Second Armored 
Division. Shortly before the invasion they were reunited in Bizerte. 

"Look," said Bullard. "You and I have been buddies ever since 
we joined the Red Cross. We ought to go into this thing together. 
Why don't you wait and come along with me on D-Day plus one?" 

"Sorry, Russ, I can't . . . have my sailing orders." 

After an intensive aerial attack, American, British, and Canadian 
forces landed on Sicily's southern shore on the morning of July 
10, 1943. In attacking here and not on the northwestern coast where 
the enemy had prepared for invasion, General Eisenhower had fol- 
lowed the rule of "land where they ain't." While this tactical sur- 
prise saved many Allied lives, the landings were not effected without 
some enemy resistance, especially from the air. 

Field Director James P. Shaw landed with his unit at H-Hour 
plus one near Licata, the first American Red Cross representative to 
step on Italian soil in World War II. Under constant enemy attack 
he moved gingerly on the beach, stopping here and there to light 
a cigarette for a wounded man, loosen his gear, or take his mind 
off pain by talking to him. In a foxhole dug in the sand dunes he 
spent the night. 

The next morning he ventured out for some coffee and medical 
supplies. He was walking along the beach with Captain George 
M. Peckham, of Oakland, California, assistant regimental surgeon 
of the 3oth Infantry Regiment, when a formation of enemy bomb- 
ers swooped down from the near-by mountains. Allied ack-ack 
opened up immediately, and the two men took cover under a 

Offshore, directly in front of them, an LST was maneuvering 
for debarkation position to unload its troops and a cargo of am- 
munition. An enemy dive bomber scored a direct hit on the ship, 
exploding the ammunition in its hold. Amid flame, smoke, and 
splattering debris, soldiers clambered down the side of the burning 
ship and plunged into the choppy waters. A strong crosscurrent 
made getting ashore extremely hazardous, especially for the 

Shaw and Peckham immediately left the comparative security of 

their bulldozer shelter and waded out to help. During the action, 

a life raft had been lowered with two wounded men on it. As it 

splashed into the water, other soldiers clung to it. Shaw swam out 


to the raft while Captain Peckham went back for a rope. Shaw 
lashed it to the raft and all were towed safely in. 

Without pause, the lanky, sandy-haired Red Cross worker re- 
turned again and again to the sinking ship to assist other men. "All 
of these acts," read a War Department citation awarding him the 
Silver Star, the first Red Cross man in World War II so honored, 
"were performed at the risk of his own life due to attacking enemy 
planes, the explosion of ammunition on the damaged craft, and the 
turbulent and treacherous water." 

A chance encounter on the beach with the surgeon of Bullard's 
command established the fact that Shaw's fellow Red Cross worker 
was last seen aboard the sinking LST before the explosion. In the 
hope of finding his friend, Shaw carefully checked all the wounded 
in the clearing stations along the beach. But Bullard was not among 
them. He was never seen alive again, and the presumption was 
that he went down with the LST. Carried on official rolls for a 
year and a day as missing in action, he was officially declared dead on 
July 12, 1944. 

It took only thirty-eight days for the Allied armies to complete 
the conquest of Sicily. Then General Patton's U.S. Seventh Army 
and General Montgomery's British Eighth Army swept across the 
Straits of Messina for the slow, costly, and difficult march up the 
Italian peninsula. 

The first amphibious landing on the Italian mainland was made 
from an invasion fleet covering 1,000 square miles of the Tyrrhe-% 
nian Sea at Salerno on September 9, 1943. There Lieutenant General 
Mark Clark's U.S. Fifth Army met stiff resistance from German 
armored divisions and artillery. The ensuing battle, savage and 
costly, finally ended with an Allied victory on September 16, the 
day the Italian Government surrendered its fleet under the armistice, 

On October i, twenty-two days after the initial Salerno assault,, 
the Fifth Army captured Naples, and within a few hours the 
American Red Cross established there its first service club on the 
continent of Europe. Harry G. Boyte, of Charlotte, North Caro- 
lina, field director with the 8znd (All-American) Airborne Divi- 
sion, entered the city with these troops as Naples was taken. 
Snipers' bullets pinged off his jeep-and-trailer as he cruised about 
the city looking for a suitable building for his Red Cross club. 
Eventually, Boyte chose the Fascist Art Gallery with its marble 
floors in the Piazzi Carita on the Via Roma. 

That night, accompanied by the sound of German artillery, a 

gang of Italian laborers hired by Field Director Boyte worked to 
convert the place into a Red Cross club for GI's pouring into 
Naples. The city's utilities having been wrecked by the Germans, 
the laborers worked by candlelight and hauled water in buckets 
from the Bay of Naples. By sunrise Boyte was ready for business 
except for odds and ends to be picked up in town. One essential 
was a piano. For five dollars a month he rented a grand piano that 
had been hidden from the Germans in a music store basement. 

By noon American soldiers were swarming through the doors. 
With German artillery still echoing in the hills behind Naples, they 
wrote letters home, sang lustily around the piano, munched on 
apples Boyte had discovered, played checkers, ping-pong, and read 
home-town newspapers. Several days later, while the club was hav- 
ing its first dance local girls who had been carefully screened 
by G-z were the doughboys' partners the Naples post office next 
door was blown up by a time bomb planted by the Germans before 
their retreat. 

Being a field director, Boyte operated the club only long enough 
for the regular club workers to take over about two weeks after 
the opening. Meanwhile he had the help of members of his divi- 
sional clubmobile staff whom he had brought from Sicily in a 
C~47 several days after Naples' fall: Staff Assistants Janet Chatten 
of Evanston, Illinois, and Betty Coleman of Oklahoma City; and 
Assistant Field Director Louis R. Spealler of Philadelphia. 

As military operations moved from North Africa into Sicily, 
covered Corsica and Sardinia, and pushed up the Italian mainland, 
the American Red Cross not only kept up with the troops but 
contrived to make its services increasingly mobile. This, however, 
was accomplished not without heartbreaks, the result of demoral- 
ized transportation, inadequate supplies and too few workers to 
meet the demands of a gigantic invasion. 

Advance Red Cross groups, composed of field directors and 
hospital workers, went along with the troops. Several landed in Italy 
during the first perilous days, while many others followed later. 
In the landings they experienced the same perils as the troops- 
torpedoes, shells, bombs, and strafing. With the combat units they 
hit the dirt, holed up in the earth, slept on the ground, ate cold 
rations. Red Cross field men attached either to parachute units 
or to airborne infantry were flown in as soon as landing fields 
were secured Unarmed, field directors went into and out of battle 
zones with the divisions to which they were attached. American 
Red Cross Delegate William E. Stevenson flew in from his head- 

quarters in Algiers, North Africa, to direct Red Cross field opera- 

Early in the invasion, Red Cross men in charge of clubmobile 
units landed with their vehicles and immediately began making 
and distributing doughnuts to the dispersed units.* Soon afterward, 
when the area became somewhat safer, two clubmobile girls joined 
each unit. 

As soon as Sicily was conquered, North Africa was transformed 
into a rest and hospital zone, and most of its service clubs were 
closed down. And even before the guns had ceased firing in Sicily, 
that island was covered with the same pattern of Red Cross services 
that had been developed in North Africa. Later it was carried over 
to the Italian mainland. 

Red Cross workers came in through new headquarters in Italy 
and promptly established clubs in Naples, Rome, Florence, Leg- 
horn, and other large cities within Allied-held territory. Red Cross 
workers moved with the troops from one combat zone to another, 
and Red Cross hospital girls were not far behind with their hospital 
units. And the ubiquitous clubmobile girls were everywhere along 
the front. As of June? i, 1944, the American Red Cross staff in the 
Mediterranean theater of war numbered more than 1,000, of whom 
72 per cent were women and 28 per cent men. In addition, there 
were approximately 2,500 native civilian employees. The Red Cross 
operated ninety-three club units, including twenty-seven enlisted 
men's clubs, twelve officers' clubs, two Navy clubs, and nineteen 
Army rest homes. Among the most attractive and picturesquely 
situated of these rest homes were those for United States airmen 
on the romantic island of Capri. 

In Italy, as in every other theater of war, supply was one of the 
most serious problems faced by American Red Cross workers. 
Sometimes they were able to supplement inadequate stocks by pur- 
chases in the local markets, from the Army Quartermaster's, or from 
Navy ships lying offshore. Not infrequently, in desperation they 
resorted to scrounging. But there was one Red Cross hospital rec- 
reation worker Mary T. Buffum, former Shushan, New York, 
schoolteacherwho had an original approach to the problem. As 
described by her roommate, Frances Waterbury of Bedford, Ohio, 
also a hospital recreation worker, it was as follows: 

This is the story of a bedroll. 

And when Uncle Joe is boring his grand-nephews with how 
he made the landing at Salerno, Aunt Mary can well tell how 
she fought the war with a bedroll 


There are bedrolls and bedrolls but there are, probably for- 
tunately for the Army, few bedrolls like the one which belongs 
to Mary T. Buffum, American Red Cross hospital recreation 
worker in Italy. 

Like people, bedrolls come in all shapes and sizes, but Buff's 
bedroll is one of those things of indescribable shape and size. The 
contents are even more indescribable. When the General Hospital 
shut up shop in North Africa after a busy time during and fol- 
lowing the Tunisian and Sicilian campaigns, and climbed aboard 
ship for Italy, Buff's bedroll came in for its usual ridicule. 

As the bedrolls were lowered to the hold, crashing and bang- 
ing against the side of the shafts, the nurses stood and cheered 
as Buff's "carry-all," rivaling the circumference of a huge vino 
barrel, passed in review. 

Buff's active mind and her well-stocked bedroll make an al- 
most unbeatable recreational combination. If it's a long train ride 
while the unit is moving, she has guessing games and riddles to 
shorten the journey. If it's a jittery flier who has come back 
from a mission from which many of his buddies haven't, she's 

fot a hammering and sawing job in the craftroom to keep him 
usy; if it's a serious burn case, where the patient is completely 
immobilized, she's got just the quiz game to play on the ward 
where "this side" of the room vies with "that side." 

When it came time to celebrate Christmas with the patients 
in the hospital, Buff unrolled her bedroll. Out came some red 
cambric and some green yarn, and for weeks the nurses helped 
sew Christmas stockings. "What can we do to help you with 
your Christmas program?" they'd all volunteered. 

Birthdays, like Christmas, are special occasions which have not 
been forgotten. Birthday-cake candles seem to come in the bed- 
roll, and if little cakes aren't available to put the candles on, 
then Buff can figure out some way to dress up a precious candy 
bar to look like a small birthday cake. 

With spring coming, the psychiatric ward decided it wanted 
a garden. "Did Miss Buffum have some seeds?" came the request 
to the Red Cross day rooms. The rest of the Red Cross staff 
gasped at such a question. Mary Buffum just dug into the bedroll 
and came up with some Morning Glory and Nasturtium seeds. 

How the bedroll comes by its contents is in itself a marvel. 
At mail call there are always packages for Mary T. Buffum. 
Mary's mother, Mary's sister, Mary's former co-workers, the 
neighbors, and friends, are always sending packages. Everyone 
always gathers around to see what's in the packages. There are 


all sorts of things. And as Buff opens the boxes unimaginative 
individuals inwardly snicker. "What in the world can ever be 
done with those scraps of wallpaper?" And yet when Febru- 
ary 14 comes around and patients want to make valentines for 
their best girls, the wallpaper incredibly fills the need. 

The bedroll is often stocked locally, too. If there's a Red Cross 
dance in town, and Mary has finally been talked into going to 
get away from her Red Cross work for a few hours, she is 
most likely to be found not on the dance floor, but off in a 
corner talking animatedly to someone who she has? discovered is 
stationed at a salvage depot where there are pieces of plexiglass* 
scrap aluminum, micarda and other such handicraft materials. 

No inventory has ever been taken, but at various times the 
bedroll has been known to hold (besides the essential clothing 
and personal articles) such things as scraps of yarn, pins, beads, 
construction paper, scissors, hammer, nails, tacks, maps, cross- 
word puzzles, pictures of all sorts, books, magazines, paint, paste, 
glue, a folding chair, a weaving loom, tea, bouillion cubes, a 
sterno stove, cooking utensils and popcorn. 

Maybe it's an exaggeration to say that Mary Buffurn is winning 
this war with her bedroll; maybe it's going too far to say that 
here is the biggest bedroll on the Allied side, but certainly Mary 
and her bedroll have brought lots of comforts, and many pleasant 
surprises and "saved the day" on many different occasions. The 
hundreds of boys who came in from the Tunisian campaign, the 
men who came in off the hospital ships from Salerno, the fliers 
who have "just made it back" from their missions all these who 
have known Miss Buffum during their stay at the 26th General 
Hospital, have found their stay less monotonous, less "time 
"wasted" because of the program she has organized and kept going 
to fill their wants and needs. And many have written back after 
they've gone on, and told her so. 

The story of the bedroll is an interesting one; its contents are 
fascinating. Many have benefited by it, but there are a few people 
who, yet unaware of these facts, have come to look upon Mary 
Buffum's bedroll as a "cross to be borne." These few are the 
Red Cross girls who live in the same room with her, but who 
must, for lack of space, retreat when the bedroll is unrolled, and 
must, alas, when it is again rolled, help roll it! 

To meet the demands of wind, mud, and cold along the Italian 
ront, Red Cross girls indulged their individual tastes in clothing. 


The result was that Johnny Doughboy saw many original varia- 
tions of the regulation GI uniform. 

Most rugged women's teams at the front were Red Cross club- 
mobile girls who drove open weapons carriers through every kind 
of weather. When they dropped into some muddy infantry bivouac 
calling, "Hey, doughnuts! Come and get J em," soldiers saw them 
wearing khaki woolen GI pants and shirts covered by a tan poplin 
field jacket. What the GI's did not see was their gray woolen 
underwear, cut off at the knee, that they had bought in the men's 
section of the Army Post Exchange. 

Though otherwise GI in uniform, nearly all clubmobile girls 
wore an officer's khaki raincoat. With its good shoulders, wide 
slouch belt, button-in wool lining and detachable hood, it was 
found to be ideal for driving through rain or dust and splashing 
through mud. Tan knitted caps, GI version of the campus beanie, 
and gloves to match, completed the clubmobile girls' outfit, except 
for the shoes. 

As learned by some Red Cross girls who got trench foot, foot- 
wear was very important. Mud in Italy was distinguished for its 
remarkable qualities both of depth and stickiness. As a result, the 
girls discarded regulation oxfords for anything from galoshes and 
GI field shoes to fleece-lined flying boots and knee-high Navy rub- 
ber boots. One hospital worker wore puttees over her galoshes be- 
cause the mud was too deep for her rubbers. Many girls had addi- 
tional leather flaps sewn on the tops of their GI field shoes. 

Feminine individualism among clubmobile workers was as much 
a part of the Army as the competitive spirit among divisions. 
The Red Cross clubmobile girls serving the 36th Division wore 
skirts whenever they could because the men liked to see them that 
way. But the Third Division thought their Red Cross girls cute 
in strictly GI outfits. Girls of the 34th Division varied their GI 
uniforms with skirts, strapping puttees over their shoes and stock- 
ings, while an armored formation group stuck to regulation issue 
gray slacks despite mud splatters. Fleece-lined leather jackets 
marked a clubmobile team as strictly air force. Each girl wore the 
insignia of her own Army unit on her field jacket. 

Probably the most unique outfit was worn by Betty "Butch" 
Jones of Oklahoma City, when she left for a forward area high 
in jthe mountains to serve doughnuts and coffee to combat troops. 
Up there it was cold, windy, muddy, and with German shells fall- 
ing, dangerous. Miss Jones, a staff assistant assigned to clubmobiles, 
prepared for all contingencies. It took two buxom Italian women to 
push, snap, and button her into an outfit that consisted of the fol- 

lowing items of clothing: a suit of heavy, long Gl underwear; 
snnggies and a vest bought in Oklahoma City; a feminine looking 
slip "for appearance"; a pair of Mack Sennett-like heavy, khaki- 
colored stockings hand-knit in Rome by the grandmother of an- 
other Red Cross girl; a pair of rayon stockings brought from 
Oklahoma; a pair of wool socks; fleece-lined, fur-topped "club- 
mobile boots" over a pair of regulation shoes; men's Gl garters; a 
knit sweater; a regulation nurse's blouse; a regulation Red Cross 
winter uniform of jacket and skirt; a wool scarf bought in Italy; 
a uniform topcoat, an officer's raincoat, and woolen Gl mittens. 
Topping all was a "hat" fashioned from the woolen knit cap worn 
by soldiers inside their steel helmets, trimmed with little white 
flowers; and finally, over it a Gl steel helmet. 

The rugged outdoor life sharpened Red Cross girls' appetites. 
While they ate with slight regard to waistlines, slender girls usu- 
ally gained weight and the buxom ones lost it. 

Though doing physical work that would have taxed the strength 
of the hardiest American pioneer woman, these Red Cross girls 
did not neglect their femininity. They kept precious soaps and cos- 
metics in field packs, ammunition cases, and C-ration boxes beside 
their cots. Lipsticks and nail polish were not overlooked. There 
were, in addition, some improvisations. Lemon powder, saved from 
rations, made a good lemon rinse. Shaving-cream lather was used as 
a shampoo. Roommates paired up, heated water in Gl cans, and 
gave each other helmet shampoos. 

Red Cross clubmobile girls often turned up where they were least 
expected. On Christmas Day, 1943, a doughboy in a foxhole up in 
the rain-soaked mountains was about to open a can of C-rations 
for his Christmas dinner. Suddenly he looked up to find Isabella 
Hughes of Baltimore, Red Cross clubmobile girl, crouching on the 
edge of his foxhole, a box of doughnuts in one hand and a pot of 
steaming coffee in the other. "Good Lord, sweetheart !'* he ex- 
claimed. "What in hell are you doing here?" 

Italy's roads muddy, bumpy, and mountainous furrowed the 
brow of many a pretty head. The clubmobile, though a sturdy 
machine, often proved unequal to these roads. On the mountains 
the girls had to drive Army weapons carriers, and on some of the 
more precipitous slopes even weapons carriers were useless. Then 
the Army resorted to mules and donkeys for the delivery of es- 
sential supplies to forward combat units. To reach these men the 
Red Cross used the same animals, the girls calling them the "don- 

On one occasion, two clubmobile girlsMargaret Decker of 


Towaco, New Jersey, and Gladys Currie of Greenwich, Connecti- 
cutplanned to take doughnuts and coffee to a certain unit on a 
mountain peak. No road, only a mule track, led to their position. 
The Army offered to get the girls there if they were brave enough 
to ride donkey-back for several miles up the steep mountain slope. 
The girls accepted the offer with alacrity. Red Cross Field Director 
Murray Nace of Lynbrook, New York, went along. Each was 
assigned a donkey as a mount, while the doughnuts were loaded 
on a mule. Reaching the spot where the combat troops waited, the 
girls were surprised to find them shaved and washed. Their coming 
had been heralded by an official military notice posted on the 
camp bulletin board. The boys were so excited at seeing the two 
Red Cross girls on this dangerous mountain peak that, after coffee 
and doughnuts, they formed a ring on the ground and had their 
pretty visitors sit in the center. The ping of mortar and the whine 
and crashing of shells charged the air as the group took time out 
from the war to talk. 

The coolness and courage of Red Cross personnel in Italy won 
the admiration of the whole Army from General Mark W. Clark 
down to the humblest buck private. And so when the Rangers is- 
sued an official citation to Lois N. Berney of Fallon, Nevada, a club- 
mobile worker, it was commonly accepted as a form of recognition 
for the entire Red Cross personnel in the theater. Miss Berney, a 
former secretary to Harry Hopkins, served the Rangers during the 
North African campaign and again in the violent Venafro sector 
on the Italian front. The citation, signed by Major (later Lieutenant 
Colonel) Roy A. Murray, Jr., commanding officer of the 4th Bat- 
talion, read as follows: 

During the most inclement weather my men have had to endure 
since the beginning of the Italian campaign, Miss Lois Berney, 
Red Cross field representative, was present at my forward com- 
mand post on November 17, 1943, and distributed coffee and 
doughnuts to all my men. Our bivouac area is about one mile 
from our forward outposts, and is subject to harassing artillery 
fire; and on the above-mentioned date the enemy shell fire fell 
close by during her visit. 

Miss Berney remained unconcerned and her smile and cheer- 
ful word for each man as he came to her and received his ra- 
tions was indeed an excellent morale builder. She cheered up my 
men and successfully changed a tense atmosphere into one of 

All the officers and men of my command express their grati- 


tude and thanks to Miss Berney, and desire that she be recog- 
nized as a real and true American Red Cross girl who has af- 
forded them good cheer by her visits to them in Africa and 
here at the fighting front. 

In transmitting this citation, General Clark, commander of the 
U.S. Fifth Army, wrote as follows: 

I take great pleasure in forwarding this letter of commendation 
of the splendid performance by Miss Lois Berney, American Red 
Cross. This represents a fine example of the courageous, ener- 
getic and cheerful manner in which personnel of the American 
Red Cross are daily performing their tasks in the Fifth Army 
under what are often extremely trying and hazardous condi- 
tions. I desire to add my praise of Miss Bemey for her actions 
on this occasion. 

Coming from the American Rangers, this citation represented 
a high distinction as they were considered to be one of the tough- 
est outfits in the Army, and a Red Cross girl serving them neces- 
sarily performed her work under fire. 

The pick of United States Army training camps in Northern 
Ireland, these young fighting men, whose average age was twenty- 
five, received their specialized training in the British commando 
school. Specialists in night fighting, house-to-house combat, and 
mountain warfare, they preferred the use of the bayonet for its silence, 
though expert with the rifle and many other weapons. They got 
their baptism of fire in the Dieppe raid. Together with the British 
Commandos, the American Rangers were the shock troops of the 
Allied forces storming Hitler's Fortress Europe. Led by Colonel 
William O. Darby of Fort Smith, Arkansas, founder and command- 
ing officer, the Rangers were in the vanguard of the amphibious 
landings in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, distinguishing them- 
selves at Kasserine Pass and El Guettar, at Gela, Sicily, on the 
Salerno beachhead, and in the bloody mountain fighting that led 
finally to the capture of Naples. Their only defeat and tragic 
climax came on the Anzio beachhead but of this later. 

While Miss Berney was the Rangers' No. i Red Cross girl, Gor- 
don Jackson of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, was their Red Cross field 
director. He was known as the Rangers' Jackson ever since he 
joined them on the Italian front in October, 1943. On a warm 
afternoon in June, 1944, thousands of troops passed in review at 
Camp Butner, North Carolina, before a small group of Rangers 


home from war less than ten percent of the original 2,000. The 
remainder were still overseas, some in Army hospitals, some in Ger- 
man prisoner-of-war camps, and many were dead. On the review- 
ing stand also were Wendell Willkie, Josephus Daniels, and Gov- 
ernor J. Melville Broughton of North Carolina. They, too, were 
honoring the Rangers. Sitting with the heroes was a prematurely 
gray, handsome man of forty the Rangers' Jackson. He was sharing 
their tribute as he had shared their tribulations in the Venafro sector 
and on the Anzio beachhead. Like them he was wearing a citation 
device on his right breast, as he was included when the President 
cited the 4th Ranger Battalion. 

How Gordon Jackson earned this distinction was told by Randy 
Fort of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, an American Red Cross staff corre- 
spondent on the Italian front. 

When Jackson joined up, many a tough Ranger wondered at 
the advisability of having his outfit encumbered by a civilian. 

Early in November, 1943, two Ranger battalions, the *ist and 
4th, moved up to the front, but their Red Cross man didn't. He 
was a whole day behind. The remaining Ranger battalion in 
Italy, the 3rd, was not yet to move up, and Jack had arranged 
a party for them. 

On the second day, however, Jack, driving his jeep-and-trailer 
loaded with supplies, caught up with the two forward battalions. 
Officially, he was attached to the ist, which was under Colonel 
Darby's direct command. And it was then that the Rangers learned 
about Jackson. 

His own battalion, the ist, was bivouacked on The Hill, a spot 
of hell and death just above the town of Venafro, a favorite 
shelling target of the Germans. To most Americans, The Hill 
would be a mountain. Actually a series of irregular peaks, it was 
a rugged piece of earth, the more so because Jerry inhabited its 
other slope. 

The Hill was very rocky, yet mud tugged at everything. Its 
trees were shattered by shell and smaller shot. A deep foxhole 
adjoined each tent. 

To reach the Rangers' bivouac, one first had to negotiate Shell 
Lane and Shrapnel Junction. Shell Lane, a level stretch of good 
road, led into Venafro. As vehicles plunged into it from either 
direction, their occupants gambled their lives. Jerry couldn't see 
the Lane, but he had it under range, and any old time he could 
send some heavy stuff over it. Sometimes drivers made it; some- 
times, they didn't. 


Shrapnel Junction was smack in the middle of Venafro, and 
traffic streaked through from all directions. Jerry also had it in 
his sights. And you had to pass the Junction, with its vigorously 
gesturing MP's, to get to The Hill. 

Jack came to the bivouac hot on the tail of his Rangers, and 
there he stayed with them for more than a month, except for 
frequent trips to Naples and other rear-area points to replenish 
supplies, run errands for the men or perform other chores. Each 
round trip meant running the Lane and the Junction twice. 

"Jack was our medium, between the line and civilization," says 
Captain Joseph N. Fineberg, Ranger officer from Philadelphia. 
"If there was anything we needed in the rear we couldn't leave 
the line he got it for us." 

On one occasion, there on The Hill, Jack received an inquiry 
from the States. A girl in the West hadn't heard for some time 
from her man in the ist Rangers. Although he formerly had 
-written often, the press of fighting had restricted his writing. She 
was worried. Jack set out to make a routine check that he might 
cable her that the soldier was well. As he walked down The Hill 
toward the boy's tent, he saw the fellow talking with some 

"Hey, Buddy," Jack yelled and waved. 

"Buddy'* started to wave back. Just then came the whisde of 
an incoming shell. Jack dived for a hole, and made it. "Buddy" 
dived, and didn't. That afternoon the Red Cross man helped bury 
the boy. He could not answer the girl's frantic message, for only 
the War Department may report men killed. 
, Perhaps his most appreciated service was setting up in and 
around Venafro five "rest rooms" or "drying rooms" for men just 
off the line, tip to that time, men with two or three days' con- 
tinuous contact with the enemy would come out of the line, wet, 
muddy, bitterly cold, exhausted. Bolting down food and coffee 
at the mess tent, they would strip off their soggy, dirty clothing, 
lie down on the cold ground in their pup tents and try to sleep. 

Jack spotted five roomsone was a little church in Venafro. 
He cleaned them up, installed a few little comforts, arranged for 
a charcoal fire in each, and turned them over to the Rangers. 

Several of these rooms were bombed out as enemy artillery 
"zeroed in," but Jack promptly established other centers. 

"Jack materially helped keep our men in good health," says 
Lieutenant Colonel Roy A. Murray, Jr.,. commanding officer of 
the 4th Rangers. "We had seventeen continuous days of heavy 

2 49 

rain there at Venafro, and the men were pretty miserable until 
he set up these drying rooms." 

Although attached to the ist Ranger Battalion, the Red Cross 
man also served the 3rd and 4th Battalions. As all were on the 
line, it called for daily shuttling back and forth among the scat- 
tered units in his jeep-and-trailer. 

With Christmas approaching, the Rangers decided they wanted 
to send out Christmas cards, war or no war, Hill or no Hill. 
The job was Jackson's. 

A soldier-artist made a sketch of Hitler and To jo retreating and 
a recumbent Mussolini trying to get away from the Rangers. 
Followed the business of having a stencil cut, locating mimeo- 
graphing facilities and paper, finding unattached labor, having cen- 
soring done and mailing the "cards/' which were on V-mail sheets. 

This meant many a round trip to Naples and to Fifth Army 
headquarters at Caserta, wheedling and cutting through red tape. 
But the Christmas greetings, four to a man, were in the mails in 
time to reach the States on schedule. 

After long, bitter weeks on The Hill, the Rangers finally were 
pulled out of the line just before Christmas, and Jack decided 
their good fortune should be celebrated appropriately. The Ran- 
gers then were resting at the seaside town of Lucrino, north of 

The field man obtained a twenty-foot Christmas tree from a 
Red Cross club in Naples. He bought some tree trimmings in the 
big Italian city, and also used ribbons and bright-colored bits 
saved from Christmas packages. Everybody helped trim the tree. 

The boys also built a big table, fifteen feet by seven feet. Jack 
located ten additional sidewalk tables on which he placed cigars, 
cigarettes, all the candy he could find, and hundreds of pounds 
of oranges, tangerines, apples and nuts. 

Also there were several cakes from unopened packages of men 
who had not come down The Hill alive. 

"We knew they'd want it that way," Jack explains. 

A temporary altar was erected in the place that had been taken 
over as a Red Cross dayroom. The Christmas program opened 
with a midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. 

Following the Mass, open house was held around the tree all 
through the night. A Protestant Christmas service took place in 
the morning. 

The service over, a six-piece Italian orchestra played the re- 
mainder of the day and through the evening. In the course of the 
afternoon two Red Cross girls appeared with 3,000 cookies. 


After a month's rest, the three Ranger battalions received their 
new orders: they, were to spearhead another amphibious landing, 
this time on the Anzio-Nettuno beaches about thirty miles south of 

Field Director Gordon Jackson sought to go along, but the 
Rangers would not hear of it. Yes, they admitted, Jackson had 
proved in the hot Venafro sector that he could take it, but what 
was the use of an unarmed civilian sticking his neck out needlessly? 
"You stay around here in Naples two or three weeks, till we ease 
things up a bit there/' they said. 

But for the impatient Jackson this was too long a wait* Forty- 
eight hours after D-Day (January 22, 1944) the Red Cross man and 
his jeep-and-trailer were on an ammunition-laden LST sailing for the 
Anzio beachhead. To say the Rangers were surprised to see him is 
an understatement. For three days they had been on the beachhead 
fighting under remorseless enemy fire, on scanty rations and without 
sleep or rest. And here was their Red Cross man Jackson, weeks 
before he was expected, bringing cigarettes, chewing gum, smoking 
tobacco, candy, and such toilet articles as towels, razors and blades, 
toothbrushes, tooth paste and shaving cream. But even more im- 
portant than these were twenty-five sacks of Ranger mail that he 
had contrived to bring from Naples. Eyes bloodshot, grimy, and 
stubble bearded, the Rangers were speechless with gratitude. 

The mail from home the first in weeks gave the Rangers that 
extra lift that enabled them to go on fighting day after day and 
night after night. On their sixth sleepless night they were ordered 
to take Cisterna, a key mountain village held by a garrison of Ger- 
man paratroopers. The ist and 3rd Battalions marched off into the 
blackness of that bitterly cold night of January 28, 1944, singing 
"Pistol Packin' Mama." They were to terrorize the garrison with 
special Ranger tactics long enough for the 4th Battalion to come up 
a gravel road, while the infantry closed in on Cisterna from two 

This, essentially, was the plan, but something went wrong. There 
were far more Germans in Cisterna than supposed. The ist and 3rd 
Battalions found themselves encircled by paratroopers using auto- 
matic weapons and panzer grenadiers with tanks and 88's. Rushing 
to their assistance, the 4th Battalion ran into unexpectedly heavy 
enemy fire and lost many men and ofiicers. And the infantry could 
not break through either on the left or the right of Cisterna to re- 
lieve the ist and 3rd. Trapped within the Germans' ring of steel 
they faced hopeless odds. Their last cryptic radio telephone message 
was their epitaph: "They're closing in, but they won't get us cheap." 


The 4th reformed Its ranks and again attacked, this time cracking 
the German ring. While breaking up what might have developed 
into a German counterthrust, the attack came too late to save the ist 
and 3rd; out of 800 a mere handful came back. 

The Germans enjoyed a great advantage in that their guns were 
emplaced in the hills overlooking the beaches. There was scarcely a 
square,, inch on the crowded and busy Anzio-Nettuno beachhead 
that was not under observation of enemy posts, or within the range 
of enemy guns. And they fired at will day and night. LST's were 
unloaded at the waterfront, and trucks, jeeps, and Red Cross club- 
mobiles moved back and forth in the pitted streets and roads of the 
wrecked little seaside towns of Anzio and Nettuno almost in defiance 
of whining and crashing shells. Now and then the Army laid down 
thick smoke screens to conceal particular movements, but generally 
its attitude seemed to be, a The hell with them." 

The Anzio beachhead was a nightmare of soundthe sound of 
artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire, the sound of bombings, 
strafings, earth-jarring explosions, and of terrific outbursts of Allied 
antiaircraft fire. 

There were virtually no rear areas here. Everybody was at the 
front. Every human being, even the unarmed Ajrmy nurses and 
Red Cross girls, was on the firing line in this tight little sector. It 
was a steel frap from which there was no escaping. The tension that 
came from knowing that the terrible, ruthless enemy was looking 
down upon you from the hills, that he was making a target of you 
every moment of the day and night this tension was indescribable. 

Nowhere was the violence reflected with greater accuracy than in 
the Army tent hospitals near the front. The nurses and Red Cross 
girls in the receiving tents could tell you from day to day whether 
the fighting was light or heavy by the number of casualties ad- 
mitted. Unfortunately, heavy days were far more numerous. The 
1 6th Evacuation Hospital, for example, with 750 beds, often operated 
beyond its capacity, according to Captain Ella G. Leitzke, of Chas- 
sell, Michigan, the hospital's head nurse. On some busy days, she 
said, her hospital admitted between 175 and 200 soldiers, and on 
one black day 467 battle casualties were received. 

And the r6th Evacuation was not the only hospital on the Anzio 
beachhead. There was a whole hospital zone where a number of Army 
hospitals were grouped together. This gigantic city of tents with 
thousands of beds was laid out in the middle of the whole sector, 
just below the town of Nettuno near the water front. In accordance 
with international agreements they were out in the open and in plain 
view. To identify them as hospitals, the tents were marked with 

large red crosses, and in one field a huge red cross had been laid out 
in gravel and brick. Whether plastered with mud in winter, or hazy 
with dust in spring and summer, these red crosses were visible for 
miles from the air. 

Hospitals, like the infantry, were underground, with only the 
upper parts of the ward tents showing above the surface. The tents 
were reached from the road by steps. Sandbag parapets were placed 
against the side walls. The tents were poorly ventilated because the 
side flaps could not be turned up, and dingy, with electric lights 
burning all day. On rainy days the effect was depressing. And how 
it rained! Doctors, nurses, Red Cross girls, and patients all joined 
in mocking the phrase, "Sunny Italy." Hospital staffs laid walks 
with boards or rocks, but they still had to slog through knee-deep 

Red Cross hospital workers tried to relieve the monotony, drab- 
ness, and grimness of the Anzio existence for the GFs. Each hos- 
pital had its own Red Cross recreation center consisting of one or 
two ward tents pitched partly underground like the rest of the hos- 
pital. The Red Cross girls hunted around the Italian neighborhood 
for comfortable furniture to make the tents inviting. The tents were 
brightened with flowers and gaily colored Italian pottery bowls 
filled with Red Cross cigarettes, matches, candy, V-mail and Red 
Cross stationery to which the boys helped themselves as needed. 
Two or three times a week there were movies, the Reel* Cross pro- 
viding screens and projectors, Army Special Services the films. The 
Special Service officer at each hospital handled live entertainment, 
but relied on the Red Cross recreation worker to find talented 
patients. One original skit, written and produced by convalescent 
patients calling themselves the "Anzio Foxhole Club" poked fun at 
familiar situations and personalities. There was no lack of artistic, 
theatrical, and musical talent at Anzio. There were other things 
in the Red Cross "rec" tent phonograph music, games, books, 
and magazines. A popular feature was the registration board where 
men put down their names, units, and home towns, resulting in 
happy reunions. 

The patients of the 38th Evacuation had red and white roses to 
wear on Mother's Day, because the three Red Cross hospital work- 
ersLucy Brooke, of Englewood, New Jersey; Mrs. William E. 
Stevenson, of Stamford, Connecticut; and Frances Engeman, of 
Flemington, New Jersey had gathered the flowers outside the hos- 
pital area. 

Maryles Nahl of Oakland, California, the first Red Cross girl to 
land on the Anzio beach, planted a vegetable garden of onions, 

carrots, Swiss chard, radishes, and lettuce beside her tent from seeds 
sent by her mother. It had to be laboriously transplanted whea 
enemy shellings came too close. 

Existence, however, was pretty grim for the Red Cross hospital 
workers. There was work to be done from early morning till late 
at night. As much as the nurses desired to do little extra things for 
their patients they just didn't have the time. They and the doctors 
cared for the patients' medical needs. The Red Cross girls looked 
after the extras. They did not shrink at the sight of wounds, nor 
waste time pitying the men. They kidded them, laughed with them, 
and mothered them to hasten their recovery. 

When the routine chores were done, Red Cross girls helped nurses 
feed the wounded who could not feed themselves. Captain Leitzke 
tells of this in her hospital: 

You should see a ward of men with arm wounds. You would see 
them feeding each other, in high glee at their mutual awkward- 
ness. Also you would probably see a couple of the nurses, and 
a Red Cross worker or two in the middle of it, ladling out 
the chow to those who were too awkward. We had quite a 
time one evening with our arm injuries when it turned out that 
all the men were right-handed, and had been injured in their 
right arms. The Red Cross girls really did a feeding job that time! 

Battle-shocked patients, abnormally sensitive to bombings and 
shellings, posed a difficult problem for Red Cross girls whenever 
enemy planes were overhead. Lucy Brooke of the 38th Evacuation 
recalled one horrible night when German planes were over the hos- 
pital area at the very moment that it was being shelled. 

I had one tent as my responsibility, and was very busy going 
from cot to cot talking with the boys and, incidentally, trying 
to ignore the fireworks myself. Finally, I found several boys who 
wanted to sing, so we tuned up. 

A chaplain, Captain Delmar Dyerson, who was a patient in a 
near-by tent, heard us and came over to join us. With Captain 
Dyerson playing the accordion, more and more joined us until 
the singing was loud enough to drown out the noise outside. 

Actually, we sang for several hours. During this time I became 
very much interested in one boy who suffered from a severe case 
of battle-shock. He had been with us several days, saying nothing 
and staring into space with glazed eyes. 

When the raid started he squatted on his heels in a corner of 


the tent, trembling. For some time, even after the singing had 
started, he took no notice of anyone in the tent. 

The singing had been on for some time when the soldier stood 
up and slowly edged over toward our group, the glazed expres- 
sion gradually leaving his eyes. The whole thing was like some- 
thing out of a book. It sounds hardly true, but when the captain 
started playing the National Anthem on his accordion the battle- 
shocked boy started to sing. As the last words rang out, he was 
singing just as strong and loud as any of the rest of us. 

One of the hospitals on the Anzio beachhead was the 95th Evacua- 
tion where Esther Richards, of San Francisco, was the Red Cross 
hospital social worker. A native of North Platte, Nebraska, Miss 
Richards was educated at the University of California and Columbia 
University. As a graduate nurse she served in World War I. From 
1920 to 1932 she was with the U.S. Veterans Bureau, and from 1937 
until she joined the American Red Cross for overseas service she was 
a social worker on the staff of the San Francisco Public Welfare 
Department. In this capacity she aided civilian evacuees from 
Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. 

As a Red Cross hospital social worker, Miss Richards arrived with 
her hospital unit in North Africa in July, 1943, on the way to serv- 
ice on the Italian front. Thirty-six hours after D-Day (September 
9, 1943) at the time of the amphibious landing at Salerno, her hos- 
pital ship was struck offshore by a bomb and had to be abandoned. 
The blow came as she was asleep in her cabin. The concussion threw 
her out of bed. Her eye and forehead were cut and her back in- 
jured. Crawling on hands and knees through the debris of crashing 
walls, she found a hole through which she escaped from her cabin. 
Struggling to the deck, she found a rope ladder and climbed down 
safely into a lifeboat. She was shipped back to a hospital in North 

From her hospital cot, she wrote Red Cross National Headquar- 

The weather has been very severe in this locality. Work is 
carried on in driving rainstorms and thick mud ruts, following 
storms. New Year's Day was ushered in with a freak wind and 
rain storm which blew down the Red Cross tent and office. 

To a fellow Red Cross worker, Esther Richards confided that she 
was haunted by a premonition of death. The worker tried to take her 


mind off thoughts of death, but Miss Richards said she could not 
shake them off. 

Nevertheless, so all-pervading was her sense of duty toward the 
wounded and sick GI's that as soon as she had recovered from her 
back injuries, she insisted upon being shipped immediately to the 
Anzio beachhead, then the hottest fighting front in Western Europe. 
Only a few days after her arrival at Anzio, her hospital, the 95th 
Evacuation, was bombed and shelled. 

At the 95th Evacuation she shared Red Cross responsibilities with 
a recreation worker. In addition to her technical duties, such as 
helping doctors prepare patients' medical histories, she proved help- 
ful in other ways. To hospitalized soldiers alarmed over the re- 
actions of their mothers, wives, or sweethearts with respect to their 
loss of a leg, an arm, or other serious injury, she was a tower of 
strength. Miss Richards wrote home for many of them. Many tried 
to spare their loved ones' feelings by glossing over their injuries. But 
she counseled against it. The folks will have to know sooner or later, 
she would say, and it was best that they be prepared for the inevit- 
able. Sometimes she enlisted the help of Home Service workers in 
local Red Cross chapters to interpret a man's condition to his family 
so that they would receive him with understanding, not pity. The 
patients themselves were inspired with self-confidence and hope for 
the future. She dwelt on the miracles of modern plastic surgery and 
orthopedics, and if they were destined to be discharged for disa- 
bility, she explained the extensive benefits offered by federal and 
state governments pensions, vocational training, and opportunities 
for future employment in civilian life. 

One day, just as the Germans launched a counterattack apparently 
aimed at wiping out the entire Anzio beachhead, Miss Richards, 
already overburdened with her own duties, took over for the Red 
Cross recreation worker, who had become ill. However, with the 
battle raging only a short distance away, she spent most of her time 
with the wounded in the receiving tent. As one man was carried out 
to the surgery tent, his place was taken by another casualty brought 
by ambulance from the clearing station in the front lines. Tired, 
grimy, and bloody, the wounded heroes lay on stretchers, some 
receiving blood plasma, some undergoing emergency operations, 
some waiting for the busy doctors and nurses to reach them. Moving 
among the wounded was Miss Richards, tender, compassionate, and 
completely understanding. The American Red Cross patch on her 
sleeve inspired the waiting men to turn to her for small favors a 
drink of water, a cigarette, a stick of gum. Some asked questions. 
Talking helped a man forget pain, and so Miss Richards talked with 

as many men as she could. She was in the receiving tent performing 
her duties in midafternoon, February 7, when a lone German plane 
swooped low over the hospital and dropped antipersonnel bombs on 
the tents. One of the bombs struck a comer of her tent splattering 
shrapnel. Miss Richards, critically wounded, was rushed to the sur- 
gery tent. While every effort was made to save her life, she died on 
the operating table. Two fellow Red Cross workers were with her 
to the end. 

Two nurses were among the others killed that afternoon. Finally 
brought down, the German pilot said that he had jettisoned the 
bombs to escape two Spitfires on his tail 

Esther Richards was the first American Red Cross woman in 
World War II to be killed in action. Secretary of War Henry 
Stimson confirmed this in a letter awarding her the Purple Heart 

On March 6, 1944, in an impressive ceremony held in the rotunda 
of the city hall, the City of San Francisco presented to members of 
her family a memorial resolution adopted by the Board of Super- 

The Italian Government's War Cross of Military Valor has also 
been awarded to Miss Richards posthumously. The citation reads as 

This heroic Red Cross worker, heedless of the enemy's ex- 
tremely violent fire, gave proof of a high sense of duty and of 
contempt for danger. She sacrificed her young life for the ideals 
of civilization and for the liberation of Rome. 

The American Red Cross suffered more casualties in Sicily and 
Italy than in any other theater. Most of the deaths have been due 
to Accidental airplane crashes. In one plane a field director and six 
Red Cross girls were killed with military personnel. In addition, 
three field men on their way to the China-Burma-India theater 
were lost when their ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediter- 


Chapter XII 




widely dispersed. In groups varying from a few hundred men or 
less at isolated outposts to many thousands undergoing invasion 
training in camps, the great majority were stationed in rural areas. 
Many of the posts were five or more miles from the nearest town 
or village. 

How the American Red Cross solved the complicated problem of 
properly serving the scattered units forms one of the fascinating 
stories of the war. Because of space limitations only a suggestion 
of the kaleidoscope can be given here. 

With headquarters in London, Red Cross services were spread 
out over the United Kingdom in a series of concentric circles until 
not a single American serviceman or woman was overlooked. The 
Red Cross emblem was carried into the remotest reaches where 
motor roads turned to muddy tracks and telephone wires were un- 
knowneven to the wild and desolate moors beyond which the At- 
lantic shows its teeth. There American soldiers carried on in the 
wind and rain, and there the Red Cross came to them. 

Side by side with traditional Red Cross services in Great Britain- 
field, hospital, and club preparations for invasion were carried on. 
Like the Army, which plans its transportation and supply problems 
far in advance of a major campaign, the Red Cross had to work and 
plan to hold its appointed place in military operations. Men of wide 
experience were putting in countless hours in the planning and exe- 
cution of the smallest details. A heaping stock pile of supplies needed 
on D-Day and for some time after millions of pounds of doughnut 
flour, vast quantities of towels, toothbrushes, tooth paste, shaving 
cream, candy and gum, playing cards, matches, many millions of 
cigarettes, and other items to be distributed free to the GI's was 
being accumulated. To handle these supplies required thousands of 
cases, properly marked and packed, and hundreds of employees 
marking and packing them. Vast warehousing space had to be found 
to segregate the material. Red Cross supply officers in Britain and 
on the continent would follow the cargo movement through ports 
and overland to final destinations. Cargoes first assembled in New 

York, Boston, and other ports would end up in forward areas where 
Red Cross workers distributed them directly to the combat troops* 

Mobility, watchword of the Army, was also the key to this vast 
and all-embracing Red Cross pre-invasion program. Hundreds of 
motor vehicles were being assembled to serve as clubmobiles, trucks, 
soup kitchens, vans, trailers, and mobile generators. 

As of July 31, 1944, there were 38,298 paid and volunteer workers 
serving the troops in Great Britain and Western Europe under the 
American Red Cross flag. The backbone of this service was pro- 
vided by more than 2,700 professional Red Cross workers from the 
United States. Building up a staff and recruiting local kbor, paid 
and volunteer, were in themselves tremendous tasks. 

No wonder the lights burned late every night in Grosvenor 
Square, ETO headquarters of the American Red Cross. 

The driving force behind this huge organization was a volunteer* 
Harvey D. Gibson, American Red Cross commissioner to Great 
Britain and Western Europe. President of the Manufacturers' Trust 
Company in New York, he was on leave from his bank to serve the 
Red Cross overseas. Mr. Gibson's Red Cross career was long and 
distinguished. In World War I he was a member of the War Council, 
and also Red Cross commissioner to France in 1918 and to Europe 
in 1919. 

Mr. Gibson assumed his World War II duties in September, 1942, 
shortly after his arrival from the United States. He succeeded 
William E. Stevenson, Red Cross delegate to Great Britain who, 
after serving from the spring until November, 1942, left for North 
Africa to become Red Cross delegate to that theater. Preceding Mr. 
Stevenson as Red Cross delegate to Great Britain, Bernard S. Carter 
had come to London before Pearl Harbor. 

American Red Cross Military and Naval Welfare Service in the 
United Kingdom was inaugurated by Supervisor Robert G Lewis, 
veteran Red Grosser who, during the week of December 3-10, 1941, 
started a program for servicemen attached to the United States 

With the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland, an- 
nounced late in January, 1942, and of the first contingent of Ameri- 
can Red Cross workers, announced March 5, the Military and Naval 
Welfare Service made good progress. This pioneer Red Cross group 
consisted of John S. Disosway* of San Antonio, Texas, field director; 
Elmer A. Quist of Minneapolis, and Thomas Ford McHale of 

*Mr. Disosway died of natural causes while on duty in England May 
*5* 1943* 


Olyphant, Pennsylvania, assistant field directors; Thomas W. Irving 
of Rockford, Illinois, recreation director; Jean P. Napier of Emory 
University, Georgia, and Elsie Davies of Wilkes-Barre, medical social 
^workers; Nancy M. Jones of Nevada City, California, and Miriam 
L. Spaulding of Lowell, Massachusetts, recreation workers; Mar j one 
H. Stein of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and Helen H. Cantrell of 
Strafford, Pennsylvania, secretaries. Supervisor Robert C. Lewis was 
in charge. 

The first major task undertaken by Commissioner Gibson and his 
staff was of a social nature. The Army was starting its policy of giv- 
ing each soldier an eight-day furlough every five or six months. 
Great Britain was a very busy place in wartime with hotels in the 
larger cities taxed to capacity. As these were the very places the 
soldiers would rush to from their isolated stations, it was obvious 
that something definite had to be done to provide sleeping accom- 
modations for them while on furlough. To meet this need, the Red 
Cross was requested by General Eisenhower to establish service clubs 
for them in the cities. 

The first two service clubs in a Red Cross chain that soon covered 
the United Kingdom were formally opened on the same date: May 
<5, 1942. One was the Eagle Club in London used in pre-Pearl 
Harbor days by Americans serving with the British forces. The 
other was located in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. This club 
generally took precedence over the Eagle Club as it was the first 
entirely organized by the American Red Cross. The third club was 
opened in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 28, 1942. American troops 
in London celebrated the Fourth of July, 1942, by attending the 
opening of the Washington Club. Formerly the Washington Hotel, 
this old building was modernized and adapted to the special needs 
of the Red Cross, becoming a model for future service clubs. There 
were clubs for officers as well as for enlisted men. Even the women 
Wacs, Army nurses, ferry pilots, and Red Cross workers on 
leave had a club of their own in London. A number of clubs were 
located near large concentrations of Negro troops and were staffed 
by Negro professional Red Cross workers from the United States. 

At the peak of the program in Great Britain more than 2,000 Red 
Cross staff workers were on duty in 265 service clubs. They were as- 
sisted by nearly 13,000 British volunteers and nearly 10,000 paid 

A man leaving camp on an eight-day furlough received, along 

with his pass and travel warrant, a card that reserved for him a bed 

at a Red Cross club on a certain day in the city to which he was 

traveling. Soldiers on leave were not required to use the Red Cross 


club, but virtually all did so. What actually happened was that upon 
arriving at their destination the men checked in at the Red Cross- 
club, dumped their kit in their bedrooms, changed their dollars into 
English currency, and rushed out to kick up their heels. 

The American dishes served in Red Cross clubs had an irresistible 
appeal to homesick GPs on leave. The kitchens were manned by 
chefs and assistants whom the Red Cross had specially trained in 
American cooking and in the preparation of American dishes. De- 
spite Britain's drastic rationing restrictions, they were able to turn 
out many a surprise that reminded a soldier of Mom's cooking, and 
the verdict of most GI's was that the Red Cross clubs had the "best 
grub in town." In compliance with the request of the War Depart- 
ment, and in keeping with the practice of Allied service clubs In 
Great Britain, Red Cross clubs made a small charge for food and 
lodging. Charges, however, were below cost, the deficit being made 
up by the Red Cross. The price for a bed and breakfast was fixed 
at is 6d, or 50 cents in United States currency. For a regular dinner 
the charge was only one shilling, or twenty cents. A dinner con- 
sisted of plenty of bread, one main dish of fish or meat, with at 
least one vegetable in addition to potatoes, plenty of gravy, and 
dessert; dessert generally was pie, pudding, or waffles, often with 
real maple syrup. 

These clubs provided everything else that a soldier could hope 
for in his wildest dreams a cafeteria, snack bars, check rooms, hot 
and cold showers, barber shop, tailor shop, shoeshine parlor, and 
game, recreation, reading and writing, and first-aid rooms. One of 
the greatest attractions was a large map of the United States labeled, 
Is there someone here from your home town? Watch the flags. 
The map was dotted with tiny red flags with the name and home 
address of the American soldiers using the club at the moment. This 
device led to many pleasant reunions of friends and relatives. And 
one of the busiest spots was the information bureau, where all ques- 
tions were answered. Here were distributed complimentary tickets 
to commercial theaters, cinemas, and concerts; and arrangements 
were made for sight-seeing tours and overnight and week-end visits 
with British families. The clubs also held dances, free movies, con- 
certs, and theatrical productions by local amateur and professional 
actors and actresses. 

Of the clubs, the best known was Rainbow Corner, off Pic- 
cadilly Circus in London. It was a clearing house for all the others 
in the European theater of operations. Ideas spread from it in widen- 
ing circles. One of them, the art and handicraft displays of American 
servicemen, aroused so much public interest that it was sent on tour. 
As a traveling exhibit it was seen by more than a half -million people. 


Rainbow Corner was also the place where servicemen arriving on 
leave were assigned rooms in the other Red Cross clubs in London, 
and where all difficulties were ironed out, usually by a house com- 
mittee of servicemen. When Rainbow Corner was opened the key 
was thrown away. Its doors were never closed, service continuing 
around the clock. No matter what hour of the day or night a man 
arrived in London he found a staff on duty ready to welcome him. 
This club was also the largest Red Cross recreation center. There 
was something doing there every night shows, movies, dances, prize 
fights, wrestling matches, and all sorts of athletic tournaments with 
prizes. The Red Cross went to extraordinary lengths to provide 

One of the many volunteer workers at Rainbow Corner was 
sitting behind her desk one day when a GI grinned: "Where do 
you come from in the States?" 

"I'm just one of those Omaha, Nebraska, girls," she replied with 
a chuckle. 

The volunteer was Lady Cavendish, Adele Astaire. 

This charming American woman who, with her brother Fred as a 
dancing partner, once danced herself into the hearts of two conti- 
nents, made a unique place for herself at Rainbow Corner. If the 
juke box happened to be playing a lively tune she might step out 
on the floor with one of the GFs. For the most part, however, she 
stuck to her job penning letters to addresses all over the United 
States. Far from formal, her letters gave a friendly report to mothers, 
wives, and sweethearts of their loved ones with whom Adele had 
talked at Rainbow Corner. 

"What I like most about my job," said Adele, "is the return in 
dividends I am getting in the form of letters from America. This 
type of fan mail is genuine and to be treasured. Most of the mothers 
and wives call me 'Dear Adele' and their letters are so warm and 
friendly that they almost make me feel one of the family." 

From one mother: "Dear Adele: Pardon my informal salutation 
but I feel as if I know you." 

From another mother: "I was so thrilled with your letter that I had 
everyone read it, even the Parish Priest." 

From a young wife: "The papers say your brother, Fred, is going 
across to entertain the boys. Three cheers for the Astaire family." 

From a sergeant's wife: "It's women like you who are helping we 
women at home to carry on." 

From a young woman: "As you know, Adele, my Tony is a very 
wonderful person. Please tell him that I love him truly, sincerely 
and forever." 

From another young woman: "Your letter reassured me a lot. It 
is true that girls at home become just a bit worried knowing that 
their men are meeting lovely girls elsewhere but I don't mean you 
Adele." J ' 

Now and then a tragic note crept into Adele's fan mail. From a 
mother: "Thank you for your kind letter written for my son. Yes- 
terday we received a telegram telling us of his death in action . . ." 

Without volunteers like Adele Astaire, together with some British 
paid workers, the service clubs could not have been operated. 
British workers spent between twenty and forty hours a week per- 
forming such chores as washing dishes, peeling potatoes, making 
beds, serving in the canteen, and answering questions at the informa- 
tion desk. With many, the hours they gave to the Red Cross repre- 
sented time left over from regular war jobs and housework. They 
stood patiently in line for rations, squeezed their shopping into 
crowded lunch hours, spent one night a week fire-watching from 
blackout till dawn-compulsory for all men and women between 
fifteen and fifty-five years-and worked in the Red Cross clubs. 

Englishmen also volunteered to serve with the American Red 
Cross. One girl supervisor in a club outside London was surprised 
when a certain man came to volunteer his services. He explained 
politely that he would have to confine his activities to the evening 
as he was busy in a war plant all day. 

"After a long day like that," asked the girl, "why do you want to 
work at a Red Cross club?" 

"I've got to!" the man said grimly. "It's the only way I can see 
anything of my wife." 

^ The volunteers represented a cross-section of the British popula- 
tion, titled women working alongside women of all classes. Like the 
paid workers, they too combined Red Cross work with housework 
and war work. 

Volunteer nurses from the British Red Cross and St. John's took 
care of minor ailments in the first-aid rooms of the American Red 
Cross clubs. One of them, a veteran of the London blitz, found 
that her patients, suffering from minor cuts, headaches, and blackout 
bumps, seemed more interested in her accounts of the blitz than 
in anything else. She concluded from their remarks that they were 
sorry they had missed the excitement of the blitz. 

One volunteer spent her mornings on a WVS (Women's Volun- 
teer Services) tea car, her afternoons at an American Red Cross club 
snack bar. 

Some gave up their leisure to take GPs sight-seeing. In London, a 
volunteer named E. J* Cormack was known as the "doughboy's 


guide to London." After spending six days a week working in a 
war plant his idea of Sabbath rest was showing the sights of Lon- 
don to groups of American soldiers. 

There were so many offers from British families to entertain 
Yanks in their homes that a hospitality exchange with a supervisor 
was set up in each Red Cross club to clear invitations. More than 
100,000 men a month were guests of British homes. "Such hos- 
pitality makes it a pleasure to be a stranger, 7 ' wrote one greatful 
GI epitomizing the sentiments of his comrades. Mrs. Harris, chief 
potato peeler in one of the clubs, laughed every time she recalled 
her first experience as a hostess to two certain GFs. Invited for 
supper, the two soldiers stayed three days. They helped her in the 
kitchen, learned to brew English tea, washed the dishes, and per- 
formed other chores. In every respect except one they were perfect 
gentlemen: they left Mrs. Harris' cupboard completely bare. Yet 
she did not seem to mind. In fact, she invited them out a second 
time, and a third. "They've been coming back ever since," she 
laughed. "Well, you know, the Yanks need us, what with being 
away from home and all." 

An American Red Cross club in Scotland devised a plan for bring- 
ing together American soldiers and British civilians with common 
interests. At a club-sponsored dinner, local farmers, lawyers, teach- 
ers, newspapermen, and representatives of other occupations were 
invited to meet their counterparts in khaki. This led to Americans 
being invited to inspect farms, newspaper offices, schools, and other 
places with which their British parallels were connected. 

And so the exchange of ideas and information between Americans 
in uniform and British civilians widened the horizons of both 
peoples, promoting Anglo-American understanding and friendship. 

By far the majority of the United States troops in Great Britain 
were stationed a good way from Red Cross service clubs. A large 
proportion of them were members of the Eighth Air Force, later 
joined by the Ninth Air Force, who were pounding the roof of 
Fortress Europe. Restricted to their stations, flyers and ground 
crews were unable to take advantage of the service clubs except 
when on leave. Yet their need for recreation was urgent. So the 
American Red Cross was requested by the USAAF to undertake the 
operation of a network of recreation centers to cover these rural 
installations. For groups of 500 or more men, the Red Cross estab- 
lished "aeroclubs" on airfields or camp clubs for other military 
units. The terms were applied to differentiate them from service 
clubs, but in every respect except beds they offered all the facilities 
of the service clubs. Each was staffed by a Red Cross field director 

and two Red Cross girls a club director and a staff assistant, plus 
British paid and volunteer workers. At the peak, in the fall of 1944, 
there were 100 of these aero- and camp clubs. Many of the recrea- 
tion centers were buildings taken over from the British Canteen 
Service after the Royal Air Force had moved on. Virtually overnight 
tlie Red Cross girls transformed them into attractive homelike cen- 
ters. Furniture being scarce in wartime Britain, the girls supplemented 
the available pieces with some ingenious ones of their own. Couches, 
for instance, were fashioned out of Army cots padded with GI mat- 
tresses and covered with cretonne. The smart taste of Red Cross 
girls was reflected in the interior decorations. Matching chairs and 
settees and coffee tables were grouped cozily before a brick fire- 
place in one lounge. The tang of burning logs seasoned the atmos- 
phere of this room where men sat around in flying jackets or fatigues 
reading or listening quietly to the phonograph. There were also a 
library and writing room, a game room, and a snack bar; Planned 
entertainment was held several nights a week. 

Another Red Cross service to the American airmen based on Great 
Britain was staffing rest homes. The USAAF took over beautiful 
large country estates for airmen who, having had too much combat 
flying, were in need of a rest and a change of scene. Two Red Cross 
girls with outstanding qualifications took over each of the rest homes 
and endeavored to run them as if they were their own homes. 

How effectively they did their job was told in the Red Cross 
Courier by Captain David Wright, psychiatric consultant for the 
Eighth AST Force, after six weeks' observation at Coombe House 
"somewhere in England." 

Here are excerpts of his article: 

Many of us including the fliers themselves did not believe in 
the beginning that rest homes could actually accomplish that job* 
Even after the Red Cross agreed to come into rest homes to 
create a more homelike, less military atmosphere, I was skeptical. 
I did not believe that the Red Cross's young women workers, for 
all their good intentions, could reach the men effectively enough 
to help them. Flying men are quick to recognize a forced hostess 
attitude; they hate the feeling of "somebody's being kind to us.'* 
We knew that a too-sympathetic attitude with these men was 
something they very much did not want, and one which would 
consequently have little if any effect. 

That is why now, less than five months after Red Cross began 
shaping a new rest home pattern, the results in terms of rehabili- 
tating fliers are to me impressive and surprising. Certainly I aia 


now convinced that none of It would have been possible without 
Red Cross, which has established the character of the homes as 
homes, and has performed the management job of running them 
as such. 

I can say now that rest homes are saving lives and badly 
needed airmen by returning men to combat as more efficient 
fliers. That efficiency has been developed by making them indi- 
viduals again men with a feeling of stability and a renewed sense 
of belonging to a world they knew before, in which familiar things 
and people still exist for them. 

It is hard to tell yon just how Red Cross women are accom- 
plishing this. I found many intangibles. The girls make each new- 
comer feel himself a welcome addition to the household. The 
atmosphere of so many things "just like home" reawakens a feel- 
ing of some real security for him the comfort of a chair by an 
open fire, games to play in the living room (if he wants to), 
home-cooked food by candlelight, and good, natural, happy com- 
panionship. He finds he is accepted as an individual on his own 
merits as a human being; he gets into civilian clothes and becomes 
just "Tex." 

To reach the boys in the mudholes those scattered detachments 
untouched by service clubs and aeroclubs the clubmobile was born 
The first "club on wheels," a hastily converted half-ton track, 
chugged its way into the world on October 26, 1942. Its crew con- 
sisted of Mrs. Hope Simpson of London, England; Mrs. Joan 
Banker Reardon of Cranford, New Jersey, and Miss Camilla Moss 
of New York City. They toured the airfields of East Anglia dis- 
pensing coffee and doughnuts. 

In the beginning not all the top executives of the American Red 
Cross in Great Britain were agreed as to the wisdom of a clubmobile 
program. Some held that doughnuts could not be made on the run. 
Commissioner Harvey D. Gibson was not among the skeptics. He 
had envisioned the role to be played in World War II by this humble 
brown object of sweetened dough the morale-building importance 
of hot coffee and doughnuts to fighting men who had been subsisting 
on cold rations. He also sensed the symbolism involved. The dough- 
nut was not just diet. Served by cheerful Red Cross girls, it was 
also ammunition, ammunition for the heart and spirit. 

So when the time came to make the decision, Mr. Gibson said, 

"I think we should order these twenty trucks." They were ordered, 

and the term "clubmobile" joined the company of "jeep" and a 

liost of other new terms in the nomenclature of World War II. From 


Britain the idea spread to the other war theaters. On the first anni- 
versary of the clubmobile, some one hundred clubmobilers and guests 
held a dinner in London honoring Harvey D. Gibson as "The Father 
of Clubmobile." 

The clubmobile went through several stages of experimentation 
before the exact type was determined. For a long time the back- 
bone of the service was provided by forty single-deck buses 
acquired through the British Ministry of Transportation from a dis- 
continued London bus company the Green Line. Their detachable 
clubmobile equipment made it possible to turn them into ambulances 
upon two hours' notice. The crew consisted of a male driver, lo- 
cally employed, and three Red Cross girl staff assistants. The front 
two-thirds of the clubmobile body contained the equipment for 
making and serving doughnuts and coffee with plenty of space left 
over for the storage of magazines, writing paper, chewing gum and 
cigarettes, all of which were distributed free. The rear third became 
a miniature clubrooni with books, newspapers, a phonograph and 
loud speaker. This section also held three folding bunks in which the 
girls could sleep when they were unable to get back to their base 
at night. The country was divided into clubmobile areas, each one 
with a base from which the service fanned out. At each base living 
accommodations with storage facilities were secured for clubmobile 
crews. Usually it was a small house known as a clubmobile center. 

Isolated detachments too far apart to be reached from a fixed club- 
mobile base were covered by roving clubmobiles. They made a series 
of one-night stands and were on the road for as long as two weeks 
at a time. At night they slept in the cabin of their clubmobile, 

How one Red Cross girl felt after a trip to a camp off the beaten 
track was told in her article, "H'yah, Mud's the Name," in the 
clubmobilers' informal mimeographed publication, The Sinker: 

You arrive nattily enclosed in mud, an armored combat helmet, 
a field jacket and a GI raincoat. You find the men looking tired^ 
muddy, and cold. Even before you give yourself away by clam- 
bering female-fashion out of the jeep, they yell, "Hey, a woman'* 
and flock around to talk to you, politely ignoring your edibles. 
You serve and they say everything tastes swell and gee, gum too, 
thanks, as though they'd never seen it on the clubmobile, and they 
bnild your morale something terrific. By now you are clothed in 
shiny satin, so you make sure your tiara is on straight, and step 
daintily back into your brougham. On the way back to the dulx 
mobile you decide that this is die Army the decent top kick, die 
major who carried the coffee urn through the mud for his men, 


that you like 'em, everyone; that you'll write a book about 'em 
called "Bless Them All," that you suddenly trust their skills and 
their integrity, and that mud, like cabbages, can be beautiful. 

Another worker, one of the "Clubmobile Rangers," included this 
illuminating paragraph in her report: 

It was worth every trouble to watch the GPs under those heavy 
packs dance down the platform to the tune of our clubmobile 
records, to see a smile of anticipation lighten that heavy, hungry 
look, and to hear one boy who hadn't eaten for 14 hours explode 
with "Thank God for the American Red Cross!" 

Clubmobile Rangers, who covered railroad stations in Great 
Britain, and later in France, were on one of the most grueling en- 
durance jobs of the American Red Cross in World War II. One 
group covered the railroad station of an important English port 
through which passed many thousands of American soldiers. Grim 
and silent, with heavy packs, they marched endlessly through the 
town from ship to waiting troop train. 

The Rangers served coffee and doughnuts in the comparatively 
few minutes between the soldiers' arrival at the railroad station and 
their departure through the drizzle of a fogbound dawn to some 
undisclosed destination. The boys responded to this unexpected 
service with surprised delight and gratitude. 

The Rangers, hand picked for this special branch of the service, 
asked no questions, and only their clubmobile captain knew in ad- 
vance the number of men to be served and the time of their arrival. 
They worked on twelve-hour shifts, skipping breakfast, lunch, and 
even dinner until a particular operation was over. They were awak- 
ened at weird hours, often in the middle of the night, and quickly 
got into their heavy GI underwear, battle dress, boots, sweaters, 
coats, and inevitably, raincoats (it always rained!). They served in 
the near-open, protected only by a badly bombed roof that threw 
its somber latticework silhouette against the dark sky. Up and down 
the platform the Rangers moved trolley pushmobiles weighing 
anywhere from 300 to 400 pounds when loaded. Each held 750 
doughnuts and urns containing 400 cups of coffee. Grease-spotted, 
rain-soaked, hair plastered to their cheeks, dragging their feet, they 
were all but exhausted when they stumbled into bed at the end of an 
operation. Glamour? Hardly, 

Service clubs, aeroclubs, camp clubs, and clubmobUes seemingly 
they were everywhere in the "United Kingdom. Still there were 

some outposts untouched. So, again at the request of the Army, the 
American Red Cross spread another chain of recreation centers. 
This time they were called "Donut Dugouts," restricted to the 
remotest backwoods country. They were not, as the name might 
imply, improvised sandbagged huts, heated with smoky little stoves 
and blankets hung across the doors to keep out the weather. On the 
contrary, Donut Dugouts were established In the best village 
buildings available within walking distance of American camps. 

One of the first to be opened was situated in a quaint little market 
town surrounded by miles of lonely moors on which wandering gyp- 
sies pitched their tents and hauled their jaunty caravans. Into this 
story-book village drove little Mrs. Hope Simpson, clubmobile 
supervisor, a few days before Christmas, 1943. She looked as though 
the wind from the moors might blow her out to sea, but she was far 
stronger than she appeared. Her experienced eye soon selected a 
small unused shop on the narrow main street as most suitable for a 
Donut Dugout. Even before obtaining a room in the picturesque 
little hotel, she telegraphed her clubmobile crew in London to "get 

The villagers stared curiously as the procession arrived. First rolled 
a giant clubmobile, equipped with a machine capable of turning out 
5,000 doughnuts daily, and large coffee urns. Then came the smaller 
cars loaded with the crew's personal baggage, a phonograph and 
piles of records, tonneaus of books, cases of cigarettes, gum, soft 
drinks, and various other things. 

Early the next day clouds of dust swirled into the cobblestone 
street as busy brooms and mops freshened up the little shop. Trucks 
from the British Ministry of Works drew up to unload comfortable 
chairs and settees and tables, even a Christmas tree. Willing GFs 
from the near-by camp swept, washed, cleaned, and painted as they 
never had done in their own homes back in Podunk or Riverdale. 

Then the official opening date was set and invitations to the 
ceremony broadcast by word of mouth across the melancholy 
moors. . . . The Yanks had taken over still another English village! 

Nor was the Navy neglected. Navy personnel were always as wel- 
come in Red Cross service clubs as soldiers in Great Britain as in 
any other war theater. In seaport towns men of the armed guard 
on merchant ships flocked to them as soon as they landed. The 
Londonderry club, the first in the United Kingdom, catered to 
Coast Guardsmen, sailors, and Marines. In Glasgow the Shore Patrol 
was billeted in the American Red Cross club. 

It was not until early in 1944, however, when the Navy made 
known the presence of large numbers of its personnel who had 


arrived secretly to participate in the Normandy invasion, that the 
Red Cross established its "fleet clubs" in Great Britain. They were 
distinctively "Navy," where floors were decks and walls bulkheads 
and the talk had the tang of the sea. 

When the time finally approached for the amphibious assault on 
the continent, the Red Cross emblem followed the invading forces 
right into the channel embarkation ports. The last food consumed 
by the men before embarking for France was Red Cross coffee and 
doughnuts. At first, for security reasons, only Army personnel 
handled the refreshments. On the sixth day after D-Day, however, 
the Red Cross girls took over. They worked so efficiently that when 
the Army added hot meals to the send-off the girls were asked to 
supervise the business end of the chow line. 

American Red Cross workers field directors and girls were them- 
selves part of the invasion forces. As there was still much work to 
be done in Britain, not all Red Cross girls were lucky enough to 
win assignments to the continent. For those staying behind, parting 
brought pangs of sorrow. They were saying good-by, perhaps for 
the last time, to outfits they had come to know so well through 
the months. 

Isobel Millier, of El Monte, California, was among the girls re- 
maining in England. When she poured out her heart to her mother, 
little did she know that she was expressing the feelings of so many 
of her sister Red Cross workers. 

Her letter (as printed in This Week Magazine): 

Dear Mom: 

For the first time in many months I cried this morning in front 
of about a thousand men. My boys have gone. At five o'clock this 
morning I stood at the No. i guard post, a coat over my pink 
pajamas and my hair flying, and tears streamed down my face as 
I waved good-by and returned the salutes of each man. No mother 
ever felt worse when her sons went out to do battle. 

This, of course, is the day we've been waiting for packed and 
ready for days now, just waiting word. If God was ever good, 
He was last night when He made me decide not to stay overnight 
at the Red Cross station at a near-by camp where I had gone to a 
party. I haven't been away for weeks, fearing that if I turned my 
back Fd come home and find them gone. 

I just had a feeling last night that I better get home, and sure 
enough about two-thirty this morning I began to hear suspicious 
noises. Any similarity my boys might have had to the Arabs who 
folded their tents and quietly stole away was purely coincidental, 


because they made so much noise wisecracking, laughing and 
shouting, that I thought they were playing football on the hilL 

Well, to make a long story short, they were leaving. So a little 
after four I got up, put on my coat and slippers and wandered 
down by the motor pool It was still dark and it was some time 
before anyone saw me. 

*Hiya, Isobel, coming with us?" 

"Hey I You're out of uniform." 

"See you in Paris." 

"How about a date in Los Angeles next summer?" 

Then I wandered up and down through the vehicles, shaking 
hands, kidding, patting boys on the shoulder and quipping back 
and forth. 

"Be a good boy, Junior. Mind your sergeant." 
"Sergeant, make Junior wash behind his ears." 

"Hurry up and get things organized, fellows, so I can follow 
with the doughnuts." 

"Good luck, soldier." 

After that it was about time to start pulling out, and I went 
over to where the convoy was forming. The three commanding 
officers were standing in a circle, all ready to jump in thek 
vehicles and give the word to start rolling. I guess that was the 
beginning of morale building for this Red Cross girl, because 
when I approached them, they all stood at attention and gave me 
a snappy salute. I just couldn't seem to get out any words and 
finally the Colonel put his arm around my shoulder and said: 

"Well, Issy, I wondered if you were going to come and see 
us off." 

Then they began to thank me for doing what I've had more fun 
doing than anything else in my life. That was where I stopped 
being a calm, cool and efficient Red Grosser and started being just 
a lonely little girl whose whole family was leaving her behind. 

Then the zero minute came and the Colonel jumped in his half- 
track and, with one motion of his hand, started the forward move- 
ment for which these boys had been waiting for three long years. 
This was it! 

\Vell, I guess I stood there for two hours waving good-byone 
lone girl in pink pajamas, smiling but with tears streaming down 
her face. When the last vehicle rolled past, I had collected twelve 
kittens, several dogs, two mother cats, about twenty bicycles and 
an assortment of telephone numbers and last-minute messages 
which I'd promised to deliver to various lady-loves. I guess I must 
have been about the most forlorn person in the ETO when I 


turned to go back to bed, and all day today I've felt as though a 
tank had run over me. 

I wish everyone at home could have stood with me this morning 
in the cold gray dawn and watched those men go out to fight. 
Maybe if they had been there with me, we wouldn't be likely to 
have another war very soon. 

Everyone's been forlorn today and I've had a time comforting 
my little dog, "Doughnuts." My old black cat, "Mrs. Greenberg," 
has wandered around the club just meowing her heart out. And 
my cook and cleaning women have been in tears all day. We're 
supposed to cheer up the boys. I wonder who cheers up the Red 
Cross worker! 


P.S. Nothing new to report. Could use a couple pairs of stock- 


Chapter XIII 




paratroopers picked their way warily through its nibble-littered 
streets. They finally stopped in front of a well-preserved building 
to stare curiously at a German sign reading: "Kameradschafthaus" 
"This must be the place that old Frenchman said was a Jerry offi- 
cers' club," observed one of the troopers. Then his tired, bearded 
face relaxed into a wide grin. "Look at this, Joe," he said, pointing 
his pistol at a hastily scrawled note nailed to a boarded-up window* 
The note: 

"This building reserved for an American Red Cross 
Club by Floyd Gates, Field Director." 

Floyd H. Gates of Dayton, Ohio, the first Red Cross worker in 
France, having landed H-Hour plus forty, was staking out the first 
Red Cross service club on French soil. Defying snipers' bullets, and 
within hearing of artillery fire and house-to-house combat, Gates 
had made the rounds of the city with *an officer of the French 
underground in search of a suitable building for a club. The one he 
selected was formerly a department store with ample floor space 
for club purposes. There was also a bit of irony to his choice. Until 
a few days before this had been a comfortable German Army 
officers' club, and soon, with appropriate changes, it would become 
the "Club Victoire," home of enlisted men. 

The club opened its doors at 6:30 P.M. July 20, 1944. A grinning 
crowd of GFs clapped and cheered all through the opening cere- 
mony. Louisa Farrand of New York City, club director, took charge 
of the program. The Mayor of Cherbourg presented the tricolor flag 
of France, which ceremoniously joined the Stars and Stripes and 
the Union Jack as the band played "The Marseillaise." 

The big moment was reserved for Commissioner Gibson, who flew 
over from London. As Commissioner to Europe in 1919, he formally 
closed the last American Red Cross installation in France of World 
War L Now a quarter of a century later he was opening this war's 
first club on French soil. 

In a matter of days after the initial landings on the beaches of 
Normandy, Red Cross Deputy Commissioner Don S. Momand, of 
New York City, assumed direction of American Red Cross opera- 
tions on the continent, with temporary headquarters in Cherbourg, 
and later, permanent headquarters in Paris. 

Clubmobiles, cinemobiles, trailer kitchens, and trucks carrying 
hundreds of tons of supplies and equipment rolled off LST's, and 
despite many difficulties, were quickly woven into the pattern of 
military operations. This mobility enabled Red Cross workers to do 
more with less and faster. With each new advance of the American 
forces, new clubs were set up in stores, under tents, in apple or- 
chards, former prison camps, in the wing of a palace, and in many 
other improvised places. Barracks were brightened up, and bombed- 
out hangars swept with bulldozer "brooms." Doughnuts were served 
in whitewashed barns, grand hotels, and chateaux. By autumn, three 
permanent service clubs had been set up in liberated Paris, one of 
them named for the famous London Rainbow Corner. The second 
American Red Cross doughnut served in Paris after liberation went 
to Ernie Pyle who remarked, "I never liked doughnuts, but this 
Red Cross variety has changed my taste." The first doughnut had 
gone to an anonymous ack-ack gunner in the Place d'Alma. Herbert 
S. Casey of Wayne, Pennsylvania^ headquarters field representative 
in charge of five Red Cross clubmobile groups, had served both. 

As in every amphibious landing, field directors were the first Red 
Cross workers to land in Normandy. During the many months of 
intensive training in Britain, they had roughed it with the GFs in 
almost every phase of simulated warfare, and were prepared for any 

Among field directors arriving after Floyd H. Gates in the van- 
guard of the Allied invasion forces were: Byron Wallace of Wash- 
ington, Indiana; John Butler of Wilkes-Barre; Joseph N. Trice of 
Richmond, Virginia; and Charles L. Skarren, Jr., of Washington, 

After them additional field directors came pouring in with their 
Army units, all under supervision of William L. Prince of Concord, 
New Hampshire, and W. Birch Douglass of Richmond, Vkginia, 
director and deputy director respectively of the Red Cross Field 
Service. Within the first month they were 100 strong, with more 
joining their ranks daily. 

Attached to each regiment and combat team, they kept up with 

the swiftly moving units adjusting, improvising, and overcoming 

the difficult problems of supply, transportation, and communications 

to discharge their basic Red Cross responsibilities. In their improvised 


offices on the landing beaches and along the main highway across 
the Cherbourg Peninsula, they issued comfort articles to soldiers in 
transit and took personal messages which they relayed to the sol- 
diers' home-town Red Cross chapters. 

On August 15, i944-D~Day for the United States Seventh Army 
invading southern France other Red Cross field directors, drawn 
from the Mediterranean theater of operations, landed with their 
troops. One of them, David T. deVarona, a veteran of the Alcan 
Highway and the Aleutians, parachuted with his airborne task force, 
landing on a steep hillside not far behind the Seventh Army lines. 
The next day more than a dozen parachutes bearing his supplies, 
including 5,000 doughnuts intended for his unit, were dropped after 
him. Luck and the winds of misfortune were against him that day, 
as every parachute drifted well inside the German lines. Said de 
Varona: "That was undoubtedly the first time the American Red 
Cross has actually served doughnuts directly to the enemy." 

Unarmed, these Red Cross field directors stuck close to their units 
under all circumstances, moving from foxhole to foxhole, as the 
Allied armies swept across France toward Germany. In World 
War I it was a long trek from the support trenches to the nearest 
"hut" in which the soldiers might find such comfort articles as were 
handed to them under fire by Red Cross field directors in World 

The experience of Field Director Charles L. Skarren, Jr., who 
was in the battle for Cherbourg, was typical: 

We crossed the channel in tank carriers, and I was with my 9th 
Infantry Division, the boys who saw so much fighting in Africa 
and Sicily. We made a safe passage and the beaches were fairly 
free when we arrived. We advanced in to the back country and 
saw many dead Germans and a great deal of destruction in the 
towns. We were part of the force which was then cutting the 
Cherbourg Peninsula. I followed close to my unit, and, with my 
jeep and trailer, carried supplies to make up for lost kits, such as 
toilet articles, and the usual cigarettes, gum, and so on. On the 
return trips I lent a hand at anything from carrying our dead to 
helping carry bags of mail. The roads were constantly being 
blown up ahead of us and each trip was more or less of a night- 

Once I drove five miles into enemy territory in search of my 
unit. Whether the Germans saw the words, "American Red Cross" 
on my jeep or not I cannot say, but I was not fired on. I ran into 
one of our patrols and when I told them where Fd been, one 

2 75 

of them said, "Boy, you're born lucky. You've had your hand in 
the lion's mouth." 

The first American Red Cross hospital workers in France were 
Jean Dockhorn, of Baltimore, and Jascah Hart, of Syracuse. They 
arrived only four days after D-Day with nurses of the first evacua- 
tion hospital to establish itself on the Normandy beachhead. 

Their effect on the men's spirits was electrifying, according to 
Eleanor C. Vincent, National Director, American Red Cross Hos- 
pital Service, who toured the combat zone. 

One officer [wrote Miss Vincent in the Red Cross Courier} 
told me that, after four days under continuous fire, the men who 
had dug into the Normandy beachhead had become downhearted. 
Suddenly on D-Day plus four, one man shouted, "Wow! I hear 
a woman's voice!" The others listened and, unbelieving, heard a 
light feminine laugh. As the first American nurses and the Red 
Cross workers jumped from their landing barge and waded to 
shore, men jumped up all along the beach; they squared their 
shoulders, held their heads high and said, "If they can take it 
with a smile, so can we! " 

Close upon the first two arrivals came other Red Cross hospital 
workers with field, evacuation, and general hospital units. Within 
the first three weeks there were thirty-eight of them, the only Red 
Cross girls in France. Besides visiting the wounded in the wards, 
the girls contrived to equip recreation tents in the rapidly moving 
hospitals, covering packing crates with Army blankets and scattering 
pillows made of brightly covered ditty bags stuffed with towels. 
The hospitals moved frequently with the fluid front that summer 
of 1944. They loaded up in the morning and were ready to receive 
patients in the new area that night. Sometimes they arrived before 
the bomb disposal squad, and before the bodies of fallen soldiers had 
been taken away. 

Red Cross hospital workers and nurses helped French evacuees 
wounded in their own homes by booby traps planted by the re- 
treating Germans. In one village a mother and a baby were the only 
ones left of a large family after the father had unwittingly stepped 
on a booby trap their first day home. Hospital staffs not only dressed 
their injuries but turned over extra food and clothing to the French 
Red Cross for refugees. 

Early in the invasion, a hospital train loaded with wounded Amer- 
ican soldiers waited four hours in the Cherbourg railroad yards for 

an overdue trans-channel hospital ship to carry the men back to 
England. The patients had not been fed since early morning, which 
worried the medical officers. A nurse and two GI corpsmen walked 
across town to see what could be done about tiding over the men 
until they could be fed aboard ship. At the Red Cross Club Victoire 
the trio enlisted the aid of Mrs. William J. Bland of Kansas City. 
Within an hour the wounded soldiers on the hospital train had 
coffee and doughnuts and were kidding the Red Cross girls serving 
them. This marked the beginning of a regular service in France 
under Mrs. Eland's direction. Not only coffee and doughnuts, but 
also cigarettes and candy were distributed on hospital trains ter- 
minating at the docks. Frequently, to expedite the transfer of the 
wounded from train to hospital, it was necessary to serve patients 
as they were being moved aboard LCT's or amphibious ducks. Red 
Cross workers traveling with the wounded to hospital ships an- 
chored in mid-harbor called these amphibious landing craft "duck- 
mobiles." One duckmobiler, Wilrna Clizbe of Detroit, felt repaid 
a hundredfold when a man almost completely encased in a cast mut- 
tered, "We knew the Red Cross wouldn't let us down." 

American Red Cross girls were also aboard the hospital ships 
evacuating wounded from France to England. They helped the 
medical aid men serving sorely needed food and hot drinks to 
patients just off the battlefield who had not eaten hot food for as 
long as twenty-four or forty-eight hours. The girls performed back- 
breaking jobs helping prepare food and liquids, working in the pan- 
tries alongside ward men, washing dishes, and carrying heavy trays 
of food into wards. Clad in air-force-blue battle dress, the girls would 
ride away from their quarters to the docks in jeeps or in trucks. They 
departed at all hours, turning up again several days later looking 
slightly less dapper than when they had left. This hospital ship 
operation was agonizing and dangerous, and the girls had to volun- 
teer for it. 

The first Red Cross girl to make this trip- Virginia Force of 
Kansas Citysailed from an English port bound for the Normandy 
beaches only six days after D-Day. Upon her return with a shipload 
of wounded, she was met by Red Cross officials eager to learn of 
her experience. She sat down with them, made her report, and went 
right back to her ship. By the time the next hospital ships were 
ready to sail, the Red Cross had placed two girls on each one and 
organized replacements to wait in the port, on a continuous shuttle 

On the continent, the Red Cross hospital workers' life during the 
first two months of the invasion consisted of loosening tent ropes, 


tightening tent ropes, tugging at cases of cigarettes, hauling wood 
and water, and moving on an hour's notice. They were accustomed 
to guns on the other side of the hedge, to dividing their scant sleep- 
ing time between a tent and a trench. And none escaped action; 
one group was strafed by a German plane the pilot of which became 
a patient when shot out of the air. Anne Kathleen Cullen of Larch- 
rnont, New York, was killed in the bombing of an evacuation hospital 
in Belgium on December 20, 1944. Formerly a clubmobile worker, 
she was on duty in one of the hospital wards when the bombs fell. 

On the scene day and night, helping out in any way called upon, 
these Red Cross girls knew the human side of the war. They got 
used to a lot of things, such as reaching into a pocket to pull out a 
soldier's wallet for him, and feeling pocket, wallet, and hand sticky 
with blood. 

Said one of them, Kathleen Knight of Wellesley, Massachusetts: 
"Sometimes 1 want to stop and cry for every young arm that is 
amputated, for every young face that is burned, for every young 
man who dies. But I can't. There isn't time." 

And then there were the Red Cross clubmobile girls. 

"We want the clubmobiles!" reverberated throughout northern 
France the first few weeks of the invasion. "When are the club- 
mobiles coming?" assailed the ears of poor, harassed Red Cross field 
directors ever since D-Day. 

As field directors, waylaid on every side, kept the wires humming- 
for news of the girls, the clubmobilers themselves, together with 
their motorized equipment, were in England impatiently waiting for 
the "Go" signal from General Eisenhower. 

Finally, in mid- July, word came through that B group, the first 
clubmobiles to arrive in France, had just docked. A visitor from 
Mars might have thought the war suddenly had ended the way the 
GFs reacted as the convoy of fifty-one vehicles, carrying sixty-four 
persons, including twenty-nine clubmobilers, rolled off the LST's 

Scheduled to arrive first on French soil, Group A, made up of 
twenty-nine clubmobilers, had become tangled in the old game of 
"hurry and wait." They were held up in their concentration area 
in England for two weeks while Group B got in ahead of them. 

Rolling on to the Normandy beachhead at 5 A.M. July 19, these 
A clubmobilers were serving doughnuts and coffee twenty-four 
hours later only three miles behind the front lines. As described by 
Staff Assistant Ann Newdick, of Boston, this is how it was done: 

When American soldiers in France stared incredulously at eight 
gray clubmobiles lumbering across the beach, their cheers made 
the dusty convoy a triumphal procession and their whistles made 
the tired girls who were driving seem like glamorous movie stars. 

It was D-Day for the doughgirls. 

In the early light of dawn, the doughgirls stepped on starters 
and the clubmobiles rolled over the beach, their calm and sedate 
appearance utterly belying the excited feelings of their drivers. 

The first MP peered into the cab. "My gosh! Women!" he 
said. "How many?" "Twenty-nine," said Kathleen Crocker 
[Boston, Massachusetts]. "Twenty-nine women! Twenty-nine 

That's the way it was everywhere along the road to the chateau 
where the girls were to be based soldiers shouting, whistling and 
hollering for doughnuts until the girls began to wonder how the 
invasion had progressed that far without them. 

"Le Chateau Sinker" has charm, the one characteristic of French 
chateaux, and nothing else. No furniture, no lights, no windows 
and, of course, no plumbing. 

The harassed leader of the group, Red Cross Field Director 
Harry Ratliffe [San Antonio, Texas], gave the girls a few hours 
to unpack and then called a meeting. "The Army wants to know 
when you can start serving," said Harry. "They know you're 
tired and you need to get settled, but will a couple of days be 

"The troops are ready for us now," said the clubmobile captain, 
Vicky Atkinson [Washington, D. C.]. "We could start the dough- 
nut machines now and work in shifts all night," said someone else, 
"Let's go out tomorrow." 

Soon the meadow in which the cars were parked was bustling" 
with girls hunting for things in the dark and tinkering with 
machinery. Nothing was where it should be in the tightly packed 
mass of equipment. Fuses blew. Doughnut machines were temper- 
amental. The girls cracked their shins on the crates scattered 
around in the dark. 

But the familiar warm fragrance of doughnuts soon began to 
fill the night air and big boxes were crammed full and stacked 
away in readiness for the next day. 

Their eagerness was rewarded just after midnight when four 
clubmobiles and four supply trucks started moving. 

After driving for over two hours by "cat's eyes" (a pinprick 
headlight more to warn approaching vehicles than to aid the 
driver's vision) they arrived at a rest area about three miles from 


the front lines where fighting men return for showers, clean 
clothes, letter writing, movies and whatever relaxation they can 
find so close to combat. Here the doughgirls served their wares 
for the first time in France and listened to the men talk heard 
stories of forty days of fighting without even the break of the 
rest area. 

Other clubmobile groups followed B and A in quick succession. 
By midsummer a fleet of eighty sleek gray clubmobiles, using the 
chassis of two-and-a-half-ton General Motors trucks, roamed the 
highways and byways of the combat areas in France, the number 
divided evenly between General Hodges' First Army and the Third 
Army of General Patton. To bring their service within reach of all 
branches of the invasion forces, they were organized into groups 
of eight, identified by a letter of the alphabet. Supplies for service, 
maintenance, and the personnel were carried in auxiliary trucks and 
trailers. Each lettered group contained twenty-nine pieces of rolling 
equipment and sufficient reserve to continue its program for fifteen 
days should it become detached from its base supply. Individual 
clubmobiles, staffed by three Red Cross girls, were named for the 
states and some cities; the remainder bore names such as Pathfinder, 
Magnolia, and Daniel Boone, of historic or symbolic appeal to Amer- 
ican soldiers. 

Each group had a male supervisor who, with Army G-I and 
Special Services, planned clubmobile itineraries. Field Representative 
Camilla Moss, of New York City, one of the Red Cross pioneers in 
the ETO, was liaison officer between Red Cross headquarters and 
the Army outfits to which clubmobiles were assigned. 

These Red Cross clubmobile girls had one of the most extraordi- 
nary experiences of the war, performing an unprecedented service 
with enthusiasm and a contempt for personal danger that had the 
whole Army tossing its helmets into the air. They had a ringside 
seat at one of the greatest dramas of all times, moving with more 
freedom than many soldiers. Even war correspondents could not 
drive in and out of battle lines as they did every day. In and out of 
the rain and mud they moved with the headlines, from hedgerow to 
plain, from orchard to orchard, amid bomb craters, shell holes, and 
crumbled towns. To the boom of artillery and the whistle of shells 
they took their freshly made doughnuts and steaming coffee right 
to the GFs on highways, in hospitals, rest areas, gun sites, and even 
to the edge of foxholes. 

An Araiy division paper headlined the story of six clubmobile 
girls who rolled into the division area in two clubmobiles Sitting 

Bull and Daniel Boone calling to some GI's: "Where are the front- 
line doughboys?" It took some time to convince them that a club- 
mobile just wasn't T/E battle equipment like mortars, bullets, and 
bayonets, and that the alternate plan of smuggling one up with a 
quartermaster load of K-rations just wasn't covered by Army regula- 
tions on record. 

The girls, however, did not admit defeat. After a huddle they 
announced that they would produce doughnuts for jeep delivery to 
front-line troops. Into the heaping boxes of doughnuts, they tucked 
dainty little notes which inquisitive GI's in the rear area were po- 
litely told were top-secret for front-line men only, "So if you find 
a doughnut batting around with your rations/' the paper advised its 
readers, "remember it was sent up with loads of sweet thoughts 
from an American Red Cross girl who earnestly wishes she could 
come right up to your foxhole and sing out that familiar, 'How 
about some coffee and doughnuts?' " 

The girls participating in this incident were: Virginia Sherwood, 
New York City; Katherine "Tatty" Spaatz, Washington, D. C.; 
Julia Townsend, New York City; Jeri Jean Ford, Long Beach, Cali- 
fornia; Louise Ckyton, Minneapolis; and Frances Goodwin, Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio. 

Said Mary Coleman, of Loveland, Ohio, clubmobiler of another 

The infantry retreated back to the high ground where we were 
serving. We were then right in the front lines. Shells started 
whistling, and when Ruth Gray [Old Town, Maine], heard 
someone shout, we all ducked. I was cutting candy but when I 
heard a rat-tat-tat like a machine gun, I didn't stop till I was 
under the truck, 'way down under my helmet real small. 

At this point we looked up to see a plane spinning down on 
fire. The rat-tat-tat I heard was its machine gun set off by the 
fire. After the plane crashed in the field across the way, we looked 
up to see an American pilot busily cutting his parachute cords as 
he dangled from a tree. We helped him down, and his first re- 
mark on searching himself was, "My gosh, I've lost my pencil!" 

But his next remark was made to order: "Got any coffee?" 

Supervisor W. Lloyd Davies, of Wilkes-Barre, took his Group G, 
consisting of thirty-one Red Cross girls, on a zzo-mile trek across 
France to the front lines in August. At Chartres, only eighteen 
miles behind the front lines, Davies heard of a Bing Crosby show 
to be held in an aviation factory, and decided to attend. Leaving 


four girls to guard the clubmobiles, he escorted the remaining- 
twenty-seven to the improvised theater. What followed is told by 
Mr. Davies: 

When we reached the factory there were about 5,000 men 
crowding the place. They were sitting on their helmets or hang- 
ing from the rafters. Headed by Group Captain Maxine Preas. 
[Knoxville, Tennessee] the girls filed in, and the boys swept a 
pathway for them to the very front row. And the cheers! Fve 
never heard anything like it before or since. By the time Bing* 
came on to sing "White Christmas" they must have all been 
hoarse, but they had plenty of welcome left for that popular 

How did clubmobilers live? Mildred H. Broughton, of Newark, 
Ohio, a member of the "Yosemite" clubmobile, gives a close-up of 
camp life. 

Tents were rigged, with six or eight to a tent; foxholes dug;, 
camouflage strung up and over the top. Like those of the Army 
each tent is getting a name, those of the plush London hotels 

Ours is the Grosvenor House. Instead of ringing for room serv- 
ice, we walk down a lane, very quiet at 6 A.M. to another field, 
edged on one end with mess tents, and scalloped with the chow 
line. This is really a Cook's Tour, from kettle to kettle, with a 
stop-over in the wheat, eating picnic fashion. 

Few of us crawl inside our sleeping bags because you can't get 
out of them in a hurry. The first night we slept in our clothes. 
Then we decided to try pajamas again, but with coveralls on top 
for both warmth and protection. Most of us have light colored 
p'j's that have a phosphorous glow in a foxhole. 

Before crawling in, you carefully place helmet and coat on the 
ground, with slippers in the middle; so, when the time comes, 
your feet feel for your shoes while each arm grabs helmet or 
coat. This is one time you pray your right hand knows what the 
left is doing. Then swish, you're through the flaps and sliding 
feet first into the hole, like Babe Ruth making home base. Then 
you hope that all you'll hear the rest of the night will be the 
tinkle of your tent-mates* dog tags as they roll over. 

In place of a tile bathroom, we have something more individual 
than Chic Sales ever dreamed up. The walls are draped khaki, with 
a ceiling half canvas and half camouflage netting. The Army, too* 


believes in that theory of modern architecture of merging inner 
space with the great outdoors. The GFs painted it lavender, be- 
cause they thought it would give a feminine touch. Outside, a neat 
blue and white sign reads: "Ladies Powder Room/' or, "La Toi- 
lette des Dames." 

The barber shop department has now been taken over by Anne 
Stuart [Lake Forest, Illinois]. Setting up shop beneath the trees, 
she cut swathes through the hair of a first sergeant. In return he 
painted a brilliant red and white barber pole on the front of her 
tin hat. The job not only satisfied the top kick, but also the 
Commanding Officer, who decided to be the next customer. 

Probably no clubr*iobilers lived a more rigid, disciplined camp Ef e 
than the thirty-one girls of Group L quartered at the great tented 
base "somewhere in France" where Lieutenant General George S. 
Patton had his headquarters, in the summer of 1944. One of the girls 
was Jean Gordon, of South Lincoln, Massachusetts, the general's 

Patton took a personal interest in the welfare of his charges. Be- 
tween visits to the front lines he always stopped by their camp. 

His courtesy and kindness notwithstanding, General Patton laid 
down rules and regulations that had the girls singing, "We're in the 
Army now" (though not within the general's hearing). 

The girls had to be back at their camp before blackout time. 
After that they could not enter or leave their tented living area with- 
out calling the guard on duty and giving the password, which 
changed every night. They wondered who made up the ludicrous- 
sounding passwords that ranged from "black," "white," to "apple- 
sauce" and "dipsydoodle." 

General Patton was not the only high-ranking officer who valued 
the clubmobilers' services to the troops. Lieutenant General Omar 
Bradley had them in mind when he wrote to Deputy Red Cross 
Commissioner Don S. Momand: "As we progress deeper into the 
continent we shall always be gratified to know that the Red Cross 
is with us, assisting our troops in the many ways they have come 
to depend upon you." 

Some of the clubmobile teams were officially cited by com- 
manding officers for their good work. One young woman, a group 
captain, Elizabeth Schuller, of Upper Montclair, New Jersey, re- 
ceived the Army's Bronze Star for her contribution "to the success 
of the 4th Infantry Division in battle." She was the first Red Cross 
woman in World War II to receive an Army award other than the 
Purple Heart, Major General R. O. Barton, commanding general of 


the division, cited Miss Schuller for being "materially instrumental in 
maintaining a high level of morale" among his troops. 

In the triumphal entry* through French towns draped with flags 
and alive with cheering people, the Red Cross clubmobile girls 
became arm-weary from returning salutations. They feared that a 
split in international relations might result if they failed to return a 
single bow or wave of the hand. 

Staff Assistant Eliza King, of Georgetown, South Carolina, told 
how she and her sister clubmobilers felt about "the boys we serve": 

Here we are in a combat zone, with the enemy sometimes 
twenty, sometimes twelve, sometimes two miles away, and yet it's 
far from being all thrills and excitement. 

For those who do the actual fighting, it's a long-drawn-out 
nightmare. For thousands, it's boredom and loneliness. It's no place 
to go, nothing to do, no mail from home. It's choking dust or 
plodding mud. Now and then when enemy planes or artillery 
shells come close, it's sharp, human fear. 

Our first group was a battalion of field artillery in the same 
fields for two weeks, with, for the most part, only each other to 
talk to. Soon after we arrived the order came to fire the guns, 
at a target they couldn't see. We went down and heard the final 
check-up before the "boom" of the guns, and on our way back 
noticed the soldiers were all shaving. I did much dancing in GI 
shoes that day. 

Up closer towards the front are ack-ack crews who live right 
with their guns, retiring to individual foxholes, but otherwise 
hardly out of each other's sight. Most of them have been under 
shell fire and strafing, but they've got to stay right there, until 
they're sent back to a rest camp for three days' luxury of pup- 
tents, hot food, movies, news, and a radio. They are a quiet lot, 
who consider themselves lucky to be able to stretch out flat on 
the grass and know that for a brief time they can look up 
through green leaves without keeping constant vigil against death> 

Ordnance groups have no complaints about not working. It's 
their job to keep the machines going; to go out and retrieve those 
that can't be driven back. We waited to give a cup of coffee to a 
sergeant who had gone out to bring in a dead tank. He brought 
a dead tanker, too. The medics had been busy that day. 

Those medics! They and the combat soldiers form a mutual 
admiration society. They go out into the thick of the fighting, 
carrying litters, giving first aid. They get shot and they get killed, 
but when they talk, it's about the spirit of those they take care of. 


One tank battalion we visited had just been pulled back out of 
the lines after about fifty days' continuous fighting. Their exhaus- 
tion was complete. One jokingly said, "Can't get us a furlough, 
can you?" 

"How I wish we could," I answered. "But if it's any help to 
you, we are all proud of you." 

Life is sweet to our fighting men who somehow manage to 
enjoy it, somehow manage to remain human beings. They laugh, 
they joke, their spirits are high, and they like France, because, 
as one very wisely observed, "It's on the way home." 

The first American Red Cross clubmobile to serve coffee and 
doughnuts to United States troops in Germany was the Bearcat. 
Its five members, representing a reconnaissance squad, started a 
curb service in the village square at Roetgen, just seventy-two hours 
after United States armored units had captured the town. 

Staffing the Bearcat were: Supervisor Hope Simpson, one of the 
three pioneer clubmobilers in the ETO; Ruth S. Boyle, Springfield, 
Pennsylvania; Dorothy Stout, Vicksburg, Mississippi; Helen G. 
Stockdale, Ravenna, Ohio; and Katherine Bruns, Syracuse. They 
were part of Group D, and attached to the First Army. 

A report of the Bearcat's historic stand was made by Staff Assistant 
Katherine Doering, of Carrington, North Dakota, who accompanied 
the five girls. 

The road to Roetgen had just been declared open the night 
before. According to an officer of a Military Police unit, the town 
itself formed part of a small pocket, the entering wedge into the 
"Fatherland." The front line curved around the town on all three 
sides, but the freed village was already two miles behind the lines. 

As Miss Simpson expressed it, "We were told that the town 
was now perfectly safe, and that enlisted men would welcome 
doughnuts and coffee if we could get through. Before sending out 
the fleet to the many camps surounding the area, it was best to 
make the test run a day ahead of time." 

Armored vehicles streamed back and forth along the intersec- 
tion. They slowed down at the sight of the "Bearcat." Amazed 
GFs, dusty, tired, nerves high-geared from battle strain, clambered 
down to listen to the latest swing records and gulp down a hasty 
cup of real coffee. An incongruous scene, laughter, song and mer- 
riment, dimming the sharp crack of ack-ack and mellowing the 
grim boom of the i55-mm. guns thundering in the distance! 

A carefully driven Army ambulance, headed for the nearest 


evacuation hospital, pulled up for a few moments. Inside were six 
enlisted men, with hastily bandaged wounds. They were minor 
casualties but their faces gleamed pale from the dusky interior of 
their van. Eagerly they downed several cups of coffee apiece. As 
they munched their doughnuts, their faces lost that white strained 
look. Soon they were chattering as merrily as if they were sipping 
at some soda fountain back home. When the driver gave the 
signal for them to move on, they waved a reluctant good-by with 
the words, "Come see us soon!" 

The few villagers who remained in the town stood quietly by 
watching the merry Yanks. "These people are different from the 
French and the Belgians who gave us such a terrific welcome as we 
passed through," said a member of a tank unit. 

On the homeward trek, the huge clubmobile was stopped short 
by ack-ack from our guns firing at a German plane circling over- 

"This is itl Take cover!" yelled American soldiers bivouacked 
at the road's edge. Hastily, the girls grabbed their helmets, and 
made a dash for the ditches only a few feet away. They watched 
as a lone German plane beat a fast retreat, over the green-foliaged 
horizon, back to the safer side of the Siegfried Line. 

Thirty miles into Belgium, back at their headquarters, which 
seemed so still in comparison to their front line experience, these 
girls made plans to cook doughnuts at dawn for their second 
visit to U.S. troops in Germany. 

By way of livening up their work, clubmobilers turned to min- 
strelsy, even to improvising their own songs. 

There were Joan Walsh of Philadelphia, and her teammate, 
Elizabeth Krider of Richmond, Long Island, attached to an anti- 
aircraft artillery brigade of the Seventh Army. Dressed in all the 
warm clothing they owned, Miss Walsh and Miss Krider ploughed 
through knee-deep mud in rubber boots, rotating among the vari- 
ous units of the brigadefrom the boys who manned the gun 
positions supporting the infantry to the mechanics in the motor 
pool and the enlisted personnel at brigade headquarters. As the 
crowd dunked their doughnuts, Miss Walsh and Miss Krider would 
sing the following ditty: 

We're gonna be the donut dolls 
That you can call your own; 
The dolls that other outfits cannot steal. 
And when you sight us from afar 
In the general's "recon" car, 

Forget the car it's just our clubmobiiel 

We'll travel over field and over highway, 

We'll hitch our little wagon to a star, 

Though we may go away, we'll be back some other day 

We're the G.L Johnny Doughboy's Donut Dolls! 

Another popular team of Red Cross troubadours was made up of 
Rita Shaw of Paris, Maine, and Catherine Overstreet of Minneapo- 
lis, Both sang and played the piano, Miss Shaw specializing in popu- 
lar tunes and her teammate in classical music. They were reported 
to be the first American Red Cross girls to have slept in Germany 
on the Siegfried Line, no less (Date, September 17, 1944; hour 
of the first nod, 10:51). They were showing a movie to a signal 
group and unable to beat the blackout to their bivouac area across 
the border, spent the night curled up in their clubmobile. The Ger- 
mans put on a terrifying show for them that night. "But our boys 
put on a better one the next day," they said. "We're living our best 

Germany was the fourth foreign country in which Miss Shaw and 
Miss Overstreet trouped together under the American Red Cross 
emblem* As recreation workers traveling in a jeep, they toured 
the lonely outposts in Iceland cheering up American soldiers. After 
more than a year in Iceland they chose to go on to England instead 
of returning home. They arrived in London in time to join a group 
of Red Cross girls receiving special training in the operation of 
the cinemobile, an American Red Cross innovation designed for 
use on the Western Front. Between classes in truck driving, movie 
projection, and other technical subjects, they entertained in Red 
Cross clubs. And when the cinemobiles started rolling toward 
France early in the invasion, they were in one of them. 

Red Cross cinemobiles, bringing entertainment to men who other- 
wise would have had none so close to the front lines, were a spon- 
taneous success on the continent. A rolling theater, built on a chassis 
of a one-and-one-half-ton General Motors truck, the cinemobile 
was complete with sound projections, portable screens and films, 
a portable stage, small piano, and public address system. Each truck 
was staffed by two Red Cross girls, one to play the piano, the other 
to lead in group singing. By early fall there were twelve cine- 
mobiles in operation, divided evenly between the First Army and 
the Third Army. 

The whole combat zone was a stage to these Red Cross minstrels. 
They drove wherever Army G-I and Special Services considered 
their services most needed. They entertained in many places 


tarpaulin-covered clearings deep in forests, in haylofts, hospital 
wards, and the courtyard of a chateau. Group G's Betty Walters, 
of Winona, Minnesota, and Judy Underdown, of Comwall-on-the- 
Hudson, New York, put on a show in a village under fire, with 
"things popping all around" drowning out their song. 

Cinemobile units averaged two or three shows a day, each lasting 
from one and a half to three hours. The girls never failed to re- 
ceive collaboration from their audiences. Talented singers, musicians, 
and dancers among the GFs usually came forward with offerings 
of their own. . 

The fact that these Red Cross girls were not professional artists, 
but talented Red Cross girls who had volunteered to cheer^ them 
up in this way, made a strong appeal to the GI's. One engineers' 
unit was so eager to have Group Us Mary I. Austin, of Wiffiam- 
ville, New York, and Loretta McLaughlin, of Sioux Falls, South 
Dakota, come back that they moved the side of a house so they 
could drive their cinemobile right in. 

Once, in the midst of a tank battle on a near-by hill, an artillery- 
spotting Piper Cub plane swooped down on Group K's redheads, 
Ada Wattenmaker, of Charleroi, Pennsylvania, and Pauline Tomp- 
kins, of New York City, asking, "When's the next feature?" Then 
the plane circled back for a reply. 

Group B's Evangeline C. Boner, of Minneapolis, and "Joni" John- 
son, made up a song, "We're in the Cinemobile" with which they 
opened their shows. Driving into an area they let down their port- 
able stage, rolled out the bantam piano and sang: 

Now my name is Joni, 

And my name is Kay; 
Won't you gather 'round and listen, please, 

To what we've got to say. 

We've got a little melody 

That sums up most our job, 
We'll sing it to a boy or two 

Or shout it to a mob. 

We sing a little, dance a little, 

Beat out jazz and jive; 
And if you'll only encourage us, 

We'd even harmonize. 

If you ever need us, 

We'll be right here to say 
We're 100 percent for every guy 

That comes from the U.S.A. 


From the saga of Group G, Clubmobiler Henri Barnhart com- 
posed a poem, "It's No Life for a Lady," which she recited to the 
troops. Hearing it, a GI in the line improvised a response in rhyme. 
Both poem and response landed in the October 15, 1944, issue of 
Over Here, the little Red Cross workers' paper published in Paris. 

Miss Barnhart's poem: 

"Blood, sweat and tears," said Churchill, 
"England soon shall know." . 
For clubmobilers in Zone V 
It's mud, rain and dough. 

Fall out of bed at half past six 

And clutch a muddy legging; 
No water in your canteen? . . Hell! 

And breakfast's gone a-begging. 

The generator's thrown a shoe 

Your field stove's blown a gasket; 
"Feed seven hundred at two P.M." 
Each doggoned day they'll ask it. 

The scenery is lovely, 

And // pleut comme Fenfer 
I've fleas in both my blankets, 

And the French are in my hair. 

It's no life for a lady, 

And it's no life for me. 
What you suggest I go home? 


The GI response: 

Let's listen to this doughboy 

Who has just received your booking; 
"You know," he says unto his friends, 
"Those girls are really cooking." 

You're the finest of our country 

You're the best in any land; 
Every soldier in the Army says: 
"The Red Cross girls are grand." 



Chapter XIV 


Relief to Prisoners of War 


were in enemy hands in Germany and the Far East. As the war in- 
creased in intensity, others of their countrymen would join them to 
mark time in improvised compounds or permanent camps surrounded 
by barbed-wire fences and unscalable walls. Though out of the war, 
these prisoners nevertheless remained American military or naval 
men and retained their rank. As such they were still the concern 
of the United States Army and Navy. With change in status from 
fighting men to prisoners of war, they also became the concern of 
the American Red Cross, acting through the International Red Cross 
Committee, a neutral body, at Geneva, Switzerland. In the general 
worlfl dim-out, the Red Cross shone as a precious light. 

The Geneva Convention of 1929, signed and ratified by the United 
States Government, as by most of the other civilized countries, gov- 
erned the treatment of war prisoners. The Japanese representative 
signed but his government did not ratify this convention. Never- 
theless, after Pearl Harbor, it gave the United States Government 
"a commitment to apply the provisions of that convention to Ameri- 
can prisoners of war and, insofar as adaptable, to civilian internees 
held by Japan," in the words of former Secretary of State Cordell 

In general terms the Convention sets forth the rights and duties 
of soldiers who may be taken prisoner by the enemy. They may be 
interned in a town, fortress, or enclosed camp, but they cannot be 
imprisoned or held in unhealthy regions. They must be lodged in 
buildings or barracks affording all possible guarantee of hygiene and 

Officer prisoners of war must receive the same pay as officers 
of the same rank in the armies of the enemy power. Private soldiers 
may be used as laborers outside the camps on work not directly 
connected with the war and must be paid for their labor. Both 
officers and men are allowed to correspond with friends and rela- 
tives and enjoy free postage. They may also receive parcels con- 

taining food, books, comfort articles, and many other things ap- 
pearing on a prepared list supplied to the next of kin. 

To deal with the authorities of the prison camp the men elect 
a "man of confidence," or a spokesman to act as their representative. 
While officers and men may only write a stipulated number of let- 
ters and cards a month, their spokesman, or elected representative 
may write as many as may be necessary for him to communicate 
with the agencies or organizations interested in the welfare of the 

The Convention also provides for the establishment of official 
information bureaus for the exchange of lists of prisoners among 
the belligerents. Provision is also made for the work of relief soci- 
eties in the prisoner-of-war camps. And further provision is made 
for the representatives of the protecting powers to visit the camps 
and see that the rules of the Convention are carried out. In this 
connection also, delegates of the International Red Cross Com- 
mittee have the right to visit camps to carry out the humanitarian 
work of the agency. 

Through this international body the names of American prisoners 
are first transmitted to the United States. Its agents are charged wifti 
the responsibility of seeing that the prisoners actually received sup- 
plies shipped to them from this country. 

Even before the United States entered the war, the American 
Red Cross was shipping relief supplies to prisoners in German-held 
European territory. 

Since Pearl Harbor, the American Red Cross, in co-operation 
with the International Red Cross Committee, has provided the setup 
required for the shipment, distribution, and control of supplies for 
more than a million prisoners, including Americans. 

The weekly eleven-pound Red Cross food packages for each 
American held by Germany, plus clothing and comfort articles, 
were paid for by the United States Army for its own men, by the 
Navy for naval prisoners, and by the President's Relief Fund for 
civilian internees. The American Red Cross provided out of its own 
funds the "capture" parcels and medical, dental, and orthopedic 
supplies, and garden seeds for American prisoners. Supplies shipped 
to United Nations' prisoners Belgian, French, Greek, Netherlands, 
Norwegian, Polish, and Yugoslav were financed by official agencies 
of United Nations. The volume shipped to Europe increased tre- 
mendously with the passing months, and by August 31, 1944, more 
than $101,000,000 worth of weekly food parcels, clothing, medicines 
and other permissible items had left American ports for prisoner- 
of-war camps. 


Red Cross relief supplies, including next-of-kin packages and some 
prisoner-of-war mail, were shipped to Europe by the American and 
Canadian Red Cross societies on the Red Cross fleet. This fleet, in 
1944, consisted of ten ships the Caritas I, the Caritas II, and the 
Henri Dunant, owned, and the Mangalore, Travancore, and Saivo, 
chartered, by the International Red Cross Committee; and the 
Malange, Lobito y Congo, and Finn, under charter to the British Red 

These transatlantic Red Cross ships, constantly plying between 
Philadelphia and European ports, traveling under safe conduct, along 
a designated course and brightly lighted at night, carrying supplies 
both ways for prisoners of war of all nationalities, were literally and 
symbolically ten beacons of continuing civilization. 

Sailing under neutral flags with neutral crews, they carried medi- 
cal, recreational, and clothing supplies provided by the United 
States War and Navy Departments and the Procurement Division 
of the Treasury Department, the American, British, and Canadian 
Red Cross societies, and organizations such as the YMCA and the 
National Catholic Welfare Conference. From the European terminal 
ports of the Red Cross fleet, the supplies were transshipped to 
Geneva for distribution through the International Red Cross Com- 
mittee to the various camps. 

In Geneva more than 5,000 persons, many of them volunteers, were 
employed by the International Red Cross Committee. Among other 
duties, they were responsible for getting these supplies to their 
destinations. The committee handled thousands of pieces of mail a 
day. It "was also responsible for exchanging information between 
prisoners and civilian internees of belligerent nations, and tracing 
the whereabouts of civilians uprooted from their homes in the gen- 
eral dislocation of war. The Red Cross card index in Switzerland 
contained more than 16,000,000 names of displaced people. 

Many letters from prisoners of war reaching the United States 
spoke in glowing terms of the eleven-pound Red Cross standard 
food packages received weekly. Although the Geneva Convention 
stipulates that all prisoners of war must be given the same food ra- 
tions received by the detaining power's own base troops, the food 
served American prisoners, compared with American standards, was 
insufficient. These packages made the difference between a man 
going hungry and being fed adequately. The standard package was 
carefully designed by nutrition experts of the American Red Cross 
and the United States Army. The food articles for these packages 
were purchased by the United States Department of Agriculture 
and assembled and packed in Red Cross packaging centers in several 

cities. On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, 1944, the centers pro- 
duced their twenty-millionth package. 

Cablegrams from the prisoner's family announcing a death or 
birth were routed to the interested parties by the American Red 
Cross through the International Red Cross Committee. 

One cablegram to the United States from a camp in Germany, 
signed by twenty-one young Air Force lieutenants, carried the same 
message to their respective wives: "Now a prisoner of war. Has the 
baby come yet?" 

Another contact with the outside world was the monthly Red 
Cross News put out by the American Red Cross. Copies of this 
specially printed paper containing noncontroversial and nonpoliti- 
cal information were sent to each camp. Amusing or human-interest 
stories from each of the forty-eight states, sports items, and some of 
the better-known comic strips were featured in this unique publica- 
tion. Articles that might be of interest to the prisoners without 
offending the German prison authorities were also included. Each 
edition must be approved by German censors before its distribution 
in camps. 

Letters from next of kin in the United States must be mailed ac- 
cording to special instructions issued by the Post Office Department 
to avoid postmarkings such as U V for Victory" and "Buy War Sav- 
ings Stamps and Bonds," which the German authorities find ob- 
jectionable. Next-of-kin parcels are prepared in accordance with 
instructions issued by the Provost Marshal General for the same 
reasons, to prevent their being confiscated. 

Relatives in the United States have been receiving maU regularly 
from their loved ones in German prisoner-of-war camps, though not 
as frequently as they desired. Mail from Japan was even less fre- 
quent than from Germany. 

The American Red Cross endeavored in several ways to fill the 
gap left by these limitations on communications. In June, 1943, it 
started its monthly Prisoners of War Bulletin for the relatives of 
American prisoners of war and civilian internees. At that time, the 
late Norman H. Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross, set 
forth the purpose of the new publication. It would serve, he said, 
"to give information, consistent with war conditions, about Ameri- 
can prisoners of war and the methods for providing aid and comfort 
to them." Each month this publication has brought accurate, 
authoritative information and advice, in addition to comfort and con- 
solation, to the families at home. Its pages carried interesting quota- 
tions from personal letters written by the prisoners in European and 
Far Eastern camps, camp notes, and detailed reports on the condi- 


tion of the camps where Americans were imprisoned, together with 

From month to month the Bulletin continued giving scraps of 
information which, when pieced together, gave relatives a fairly 
accurate though necessarily incomplete picture of the life led by 
their loved ones in war prisons. The August, 1944, issue printed a 
photostatic copy of a little camp paper, Kriegie Times ^ put out by 
the men confined in "Stalag Luft III." (American prisoners of war in 
Germany referred to themselves as "Kriegies"; it is an abbreviation of 
the German "Kriegsgefangener" or war prisoner which the Ameri- 
can and British found too hard to pronounce.) Located about 
ninety miles southeast of Berlin in the direction of Breslau, this camp 
for United States Air Force officers and noncommissioned officers 
was probably the best in Germany. International Red Cross dele- 
gates called it "a country club." 

Headlined "American Senior Officer Pictures Life in Prison," the 
leading article by Delmar T. Spivey, Colonel, USAAF, gives a 
glimpse of the POW camp life in Stalag Luft III: 

In the hope that our people at home may have a small insight 
into our prison life, we dedicate this issue of our camp newspaper, 
designed for home consumption. We hope you receive it and by 
so doing come into closer contact with us and our daily lives. 

It is extremely difficult for us to keep abreast of your doings 
and with the trend of the times because of our complete isolation 
imposed by censorship, separation from all other than German 
news, and barbed wire and alert guards. 

We strive to set up a model community designed to keep our 
bodies, minds, and souls healthy and alert, awaiting the day we 
can return to our own homes within our own land. 

We think of you and thank all of you for your wonderful gifts 
to us from individuals, and from the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., and 
other charitable institutions, and above all for your letters and 

Those who detain us have not treated us badly, and have given 
us many small concessions which have made our incarceration 
lighter. The spirit of the Geneva Convention has been carried out 
and our treatment, in general, has been good. For this considera- 
tion we are grateful and know, that in return, the treatment of 
German prisoners at home is considerate. 

We have our moments of loneliness and hunger for the com- 
panionship of home and home folks, but on the whole we laugh 


and play most of the time. The rest of the time is spent in study- 
ing, reading, working and hoping. 

We shall hold firm to our faith in all of you and are ever as- 
sured of your love and consideration. 

The picture was far less reassuring with respect to American pris- 
oners of war and civilian internees held by the Japanese in the Far 
East. The American forces on Bataan and Corregidor fought to the 
last crumb of food, the last drop of water. Such heroism merited the 
respect of the enemy. Instead of water and food, which were abun- 
dant in the Philippines, and instead of medicines so plentiful in cap- 
tured American military stores, the Japanese subjected these fallen 
heroes to the unspeakable horrors of the "March of Death," ac- 
cording to the official Army-Navy revelations. 

From the beginning of the war to late summer, 1944, the Ameri- 
can Red Cross sent 194 cables to its own representative or to the 
International Red Cross Committee in Geneva in an effort to get 
supplies moving regularly to America prisoners of war and civilian 
internees in the Far East. 

The American Red Cross, working in co-operation with interested 
departments of the United States Government, continued striving 
through diplomatic and international Red Cross channels to open 
such a route. 

Without waiting for the end of these protracted negotiations, the 
American Red Cross took advantage of the two sailings of the 
diplomatic exchange ship, Gripsholm, during 1942 and 1943 to send 
large cargoes of relief supplies for the imprisoned American na- 
tionals (and the Canadian Red Cross did the same for its own 

The American Red Cross has in its possession receipts from several 
of the camps for portions of the supplies delivered. The 1943 sup- 
plies were delivered to the Philippine internment camps before 
Christmas, and to the Shanghai camps about Easter. While by no 
means adequate, considering the long interval between shipments, 
nevertheless they raised the morale of internees. 

More than one-third of the 200,000 Allied soldiers and civilians 
held by the Japanese were interned in the area north of the Philip- 
pines. In Japan proper, International Red Cross delegates were al- 
lowed to visit some camps and report on them. But many of them 
have never been seen, their location remaining a mystery. The Jap- 
anese have also withheld information about most of the camps in 
Korea and Formosa. Conditions in Hong Kong camps were found 


unsatisfactory. Thousands of American and British civilian internees 
were in Shanghai area camps visited by International Red Cross 

Nearly two-thirds of the prisoners of war and internees in 1944 
were held in the southern area: the Philippines, Java, Borneo, 
Sumatra, Malaya, Thailand, and Burma. The Japanese would not re- 
veal the location of the camps in these countries nor, with a few ex- 
ceptions, even recognize a protecting power's right of access to them. 
In Malaya, an International Red Cross delegate was able to buy 
supplies locally for Allied prisoners, but was not permitted to dis- 
tribute them himself. In Thailand, the Swiss Consul was recognized 
by the government, but "was without authority as far as the Japanese 
authorities were concerned. Reports indicated that some mail and 
relief supplies from the 1943 Gripsholm trip had reached these pris- 

In response to a statement by the Japanese Government that it 
might consent to receive supplies overland or by sea from Soviet 
territory, the American Red Cross in 1943 shipped to Vladivostok 
more than 2,000 tons of urgently needed food and medical supplies. 
After these stocks had lain in Soviet warehouses for a year, the 
Japanese agreed to send ships to Vladivostok to pick them up. 
Vladivostok being by then a naval base, the Russian Government 
suggested transferring the supplies to an equally accessible port, 

The Japanese Government at long last in the fall of 1944 dis- 
patched the Japanese ship Hakusm Maru to this new port. The 
consignments consisted of about 300,000 eleven-pound food parcels 
packed by the American and Canadian Red Cross societies; 2,661 
cases of drugs and medical supplies; 19,500 sets of clothing; 7,080 
overcoats; 4,200 pairs of shoes; 125 cases of shoe-repair material; 
21,000 sets of toilet articles; 1,000,000 cigarettes; and 299 cases of 
books and recreational and religious material shipped by the YMCA. 

The Hakusan Maru made its first call at a Korean port and un- 
loaded about 150 tons for the prisoners of war held in Korea and 
Manchuria. The vessel then proceeded to Kobe, where the remaining 
supplies were unloaded. The American Red Cross requested of the 
International Red Cross delegate supervising the forwarding of the 
supplies that they be distributed to United Nations', as well as 
American, prisoners of war and civilian internees in all Japanese- 
held areas. 

A cable from Japan via Geneva in November, 1944, stated that 
the supplies would be distributed to prisoners of war in Japan proper 
and other localities as far south "as feasible." 

Gift of Life: Blood flasmt 

Somewhere in Italy, an Army ambulance came to a sudden stop 
in front of a clearing station. The American medical officer, a cap- 
tain, and three corpsmen threw open the door and jumped in to 
work on the tall, grimy soldier lying on the bare floor covered with 
blood and dirt. 

"Plasma." "Gauze." "Alcohol" "Bandages." The medical officer's 
orders were followed with the rapidity and efficiency of the operat- 
ing room. The ambulance men explained that they had tried to ad- 
minister plasma on the trip from the farther-front, but the road was 
too rough and the wounded man's veins too faint. 

After quick, desperate efforts the officer finally injected the needle 
into the vein which was almost too thin to receive it; the plasma 
poured its life into the unconscious man. Calling for another plasma 
bottle, the doctor started another injection, with corpsmen holding 
the containers steadily. 

As the medical men watched, the miracle happened. The wouaded 
soldier remained unconscious, but his breathing strengthened and 
steadied while his paleness eased toward normal ruddiness,. 

The bottles emptied, the ambulance carried the patient toward 
its next stop, a clearing station farther back where facilities were 

"I won't say positively that man will recover," said the doctor 
as the ambulance started rolling away. "He was badly wounded, 
and there may be injuries I couldn't find in that quick examination. 
But, you saw him when he got here and you saw him when he left. 
If he gets well, one thing saved him: plasma. Without it, he'd have 
been dead right now." 

Out of the battle zones in every part of the world have come 
many stories such as this one from Italy, in which plasma from 
blood collected by the American Red Cross saved or helped save 
the lives of wounded soldiers and sailors. Plasma was the great 
savior of World War II. Time and again overseas Red Cross workers 
heard servicemen say, "When they're brought in, you'd swear 
they won't last to the clearing station. After the plasma, they're 
demanding a cigarette." 

Little dramas such as this one described by Ivan H. (Cy) Peter- 
man, war correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer, were enacted 
on all the battlefronts: 

This happened one night in a field hospital eight miles from 
the front line in Tunisia. I was there, a patient myself, and saw it* 


The soldier was brought in after lying two days and a night 
on a slope under command of German machine guns; they would 
let no medic near. He had a tourniquet and stopped the bleeding, 
but was in severe shock when picked up, and looked like a dying 
man when unloaded from the ambulance. They had given him 
plasma at once, but now they continued with whole blood trans- 
fusions donated by willing GFs from the near-by ordnance station. 

All that night a Medical Major, who happened to know this 
man, fought to save his life. It was simply a case of will power, 
the Major's determination and the task of restoring the man's 
blood and his strength through that blood. 

It was an all-night battle; the Heinkels droned overhead, the 
wounded murmured in their sleep, a paralyzed artilleryman swore 
and fought his gun in delirium, a neurotic screamed in fear, a mine 
victim moved his hands across the blanket feeling for shattered 
legs, and down in front of me, alternately lifting him to an upright 
position, draining blood from a sucking wound, detouring it back 
into the veins, adding more blood donated by unidentified citi- 
zens thousands of miles back home that Major finally won his 
wrestle with death. In the morning color had returned to the 
dying man's face; 24 hours later he was on the way to recovery. 

Blood plasma, running mate of sulfa drugs in beating battle- 
field deaths in this war, had saved another life. 

Writing of the bloody battle for Cape Gloucester, New Britain, 
future historians undoubtedly will make note of a hill named 
"Plasma Ridge" by the United States Marines who fought there. 
Ordered to take the hill to clear out a Japanese pocket, the Marines 
fought bravely until ambushed by snipers and machine-gun nests. 
Wounded men and the few who had escaped injury were pinned 
down in hastily dug foxholes. Marine corpsmen, carefully shielding 
precious bottles of plasma, crawled forward on their stomachs. 
Their prompt use of plasma in the foxholes was credited with sav- 
ing many lives that day. 

Observed General Eisenhower: "The use of plasma quickly after a 
fighter is wounded, constitutes the most important single advance 
in surgical treatment of wounded in this war." 

Ernie Pyle, writing from North Africa, told of urgent pleas by 
medical officers for more and more plasma. "Write lots about it, 
go clear overboard for it," they told him. "Say that plasma is the 
outstanding medical discovery of this war." 

Plasma was human blood in action the gift of life itself from the 
home front wherever Americaa boys fought and bled. Everywhere 

empty plasma bottles and discarded plasma cartons offered mute 
evidence of wounded men having been given a new lease on life. 
In the dingy first-aid stations right at the front, in the clearing sta- 
tions a short distance back, in the field hospitals, evacuation hos- 
pitals, and much farther back in the base hospitals, this precious 
lifesaver was at work. 

One Medford, Massachusetts, sergeant torn by shrapnel in Tunisia 
said, "I'd have died without it." An Albany, Georgia, pharmacist's 
mate wounded during a South Pacific naval engagement declared, 
"There was hardly any hope for rny living. I would have died from 
shock if it hadn't been for that plasma they gave us." 

Men slashed by steel and shrapnel, shocked by concussion, and 
seared by flame, were saved by transfusions of blood from volun- 
teer donors in the United States; blood collected under the hu- 
manitarian symbol of the American Red Cross in a project that 
ranked as perhaps the most dramatic of all civilian wartime activi- 

During World War I many lives were lost because of the lack of 
suitable blood substitutes. Some attempts were made to preserve 
and use whole blood, but they were unsatisfactory. Nor were regular 
transfusions practical. To begin with, the donor and the recipient 
had to have the same type of blood and had to be brought together 
for the transfusions. This was impractical under combat conditions. 

After that war, research workers discovered that plasma the 
liquid part of the blood remaining after the red and white corpuscles 
had been removed is an ideal blood substitute. It eliminates the 
necessity of matching the victim's blood type. Moreover, a method 
was developed whereby plasma could be dehydrated into a light, 
straw-colored powder that would keep for years without refrigera- 
tion. Rushed to front-line foxholes or stored aboard ship, it can be 
made available for immediate use by mixing it with distilled water. 

The first dried human blood plasma was tested some months 
before Pearl Harbor by Captain E.A.M. Gendreau, Fleet Surgeon, 
stationed aboard the U.S.S. Pennsylvania. He had received from the 
Naval Medical School in Washington what appeared to be a strange 
package. Encased in a brown cardboard box about 7 by 7 by 4 
inches in size were two tin containers. In one was a bottle filled 
with a light, flaky, straw-colored powder; in the other, a botde of 
distilled water and an assortment of needles and rubber tubes. 

Proceeding according to instructions, Captain Gendreau put the 
package through one of the toughest tests imaginable. Huge 1 4-inch 
guns roared into action, and after each barrage the package was 
carefully observed for possible damage. Navy dive bombers screamed 


earthward from terrific heights to see if the force would affect the 
package. It was thrown into landing barges, lugged ashore by 
Marines, fished from the surface, put under varying extremes of 
temperature. The package met every test. 

No one then dreamed that a few years later the very same kit 
would be auctioned off on a network radio program to help sell 
war bonds for a United States at war; and few indeed imagined 
that before long duplicates of that simple brown package would 
become "the foremost Evesaver of the war," according to the Sur- 
geons General of the Army and Navy. 

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor marked the first mass 
demonstration erf the effectiveness of blood plasma in saving lives. 
On that tragic December day, 750 pints were used. 

At the request of the Surgeons General of the Army and Navy, 
the Red Cross Blood Donor Service was inaugurated in February, 
1941. Under the terms of the agreement, the Red Cross, at its own 
expense, established, maintained, and operated thirty-five fixed 
blood donor centers, and sixty-five mobile units regularly engaged 
in procuring blood from volunteer donors in 800 near-by com- 
munities. The blood was shipped to laboratories designated by the 
Army and Navy. Up to this point the entire cost was borne by the 
American National Red Cross and the chapters participating in the 
project, except in a few instances where, in view of the shortage of 
doctors, the Army and Navy assigned doctors to the centers to 
supplement the medical staffs employed by the Red Cross. 

The National Research Council had charge of all the technical 
aspects of the service. Red Cross responsibility ended with the 
arrival of the blood at the laboratories in good condition. The Army 
and Navy made their own contracts with the laboratories, paid for 
the actual processing, and owned and controlled the finished prod- 
ucts. Part of the blood was processed into dried plasma, part into 
serum albumin, another blood substitute. 

The program started modestly with an Army-Navy request for 
only 15,000 pints of blood. The volume, however, increased tre- 
mendously after the entry of the United States into the war. At the 
end of 1942 a total of 1,300,000 pints had been delivered. A year 
later this had been increased to 5,700,000. By January i, 1945, the 
total was approximately 11,000,000; almost one pint for every man 
and woman in the armed services. A statistically minded person in 
the Blood Donor Service calculated that in the three years since 
Pearl Harbor blood had been collected at the rate of six pints per 

Dramatic scenes were enacted at the fixed centers and the mobile 

units mothers and fathers donating blood in the hope that their 
sons would never need it; or servicemen "repaying" the blood that 
saved their lives; whole plants turning out to donate in honor of a 
former fellow employee wounded in battle, as occurred in Mil- 

^ All over the country, individuals and groups were donating 
rih and poor, industrial workers and business people, cabinet mem- 
bers, senators, and other high government officials, housewives, 
stenographers. Many became members of "Gallon Clubs" by donat- 
ing every two months, required intervals between donations. Hun- 
dreds of business firms and organizations, government agencies, 
and labor unions assured the success of the program by sending in 
a regular number of donors each week. "At least one blood donor 
for every star in our service flag," became a group slogan in many 
stores, plants, and offices. 

The basic reason for the success of the blood donor program was 
a widespread desire to make a personal contribution to the men at 
the front. Many people seemed to think that money was not 
enough. Donating a pint of blood was an emotional experience in 
which everybody shared alike, and the result of which was a gift 
of life itself to the wounded heroes of the nation. 

One of the most touching stories to come out of Red Cross blood 
centers was reported from New York. A secretarial voice called 
to cancel the appointment of a businessman about to leave his office 
for the Center when a telegram from the War Department notified 
him that his son had been killed in action. 

"No, don't cancel it," the bereaved father broke in. "My boy 
would want me to keep that appointment. That pint of blood can 
save someone else's son." 

He came to the Center with the telegram clutched in his hand. 

For the Merchant Seaman 

"Everybody is familiar with the fine work the Red Cross is per- 
forming for the Army and Navy, but few people realize the won- 
derful job it's doing for the merchant seamen the boys who get 
the stuff through in spite of the dangerous submarine hazard." 

This statement was made by Captain William O'Brien, of San 
Francisco, at a South Central Pacific base where he represented the 
United States War Shipping Administration. He had just seen a 
ship limp into port, its officers and men having lost all their per- 
sonal possessions. 


"I was impressed by the way the Red Cross went Into action. 
Even while the survivors were being tugged in, two Red Cross 
representatives and a launchful of supplies cigars, cigarettes, candy 
bars, cookies of all varieties, playing cards, fruit juices were speed- 
ing out to the ship. 

"I know the men appreciated it tremendously," Captain O'Brien 
concluded, "for the merchant seaman, not being in uniform, is 
usually the last to get consideration." 

At the height of the Axis submarine campaign in the Atlantic, 
the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific, all the coastal Red Cross chap- 
ters, and those of the Panama Canal Zone and Puerto Rico, mobilized 
their resources to give emergency relief to merchant seamen and 
other survivors of torpedoed vessels. Awaiting survivors in port 
were warm and comfortable quarters, medical aid if needed, and a 
complete change of clothing. The rescued men received special 
survivors' kits containing clothing, woolens, cigarettes, and comfort 
articles, prepared by volunteers in Red Cross chapter work rooms. 
When stranded on some isolated spot or drifting in open boats 
awaiting rescue, torpedoed seamen received these kits from the air, 
dropped by United States Navy scouting blimps. In many cases, 
Red Cross first-aiders put out to sea to help bring survivors to 
safety through surging waters, and then set up first-aid quarters for 
treating those suffering from exposure. 

The same type of service was given by Red Cross workers 
around the globe. The world-wide activities of the American Red 
Cross in World War II proved a boon to American merchant sea- 
men. The latter may or may not have had a girl in every port, 
according to the traditional saying, but certainly they found Ameri- 
can Red Cross workers wherever they docked Glasgow, London, 
Southampton, Cherbourg, Marseille, Naples, Oran, Casablanca, 
Karachi, Bombay, Ceylon, Sydney, Auckland, Noumea, and many 
other Allied ports. 

Joseph McDonald, of Buffalo, New York, second assistant engi- 
neer, learned about that. His vessel was discharging war cargo about 
a half-mile offshore during the Italian invasion when it was struck 
by a bomb. As the order came through to abandon ship, all hands 
hurried to the lifeboats, leaving behind everything but the clothes 
on their backs. When the survivors reached the North African main- 
land, they were met by American Red Cross workers who found 
temporary quarters for them, arranged for their meals, and supplied 
them with fresh clothing. 

In its March 31, 1944, issue, the National Maritime Union's offi- 
cial organ, The Pilot, published a group picture and the stories of a 

crew whose ship was sunk, presumably in the Indian Ocean. After 
other crew members had described their experiences, one of them 

We stayed in the lifeboats all night. About 1:30 the next day we 
were picked up by a corvette, manned by an Indian crew. 

We were taken to a native camp of thatched huts. We lay on 
rope springs, each covered with one blanket. There were no mat- 
tresses. By that time we were half-starved to death. We were glad 
to wrap our faces around some food. They gave us corned beef, 
sardines and native beer which tasted as if it had been scraped 
off the bottom of a barrel. 

Nine hours later we were on a train. After three days of travel 
we reached Ceylon. As we stepped off the train, the American 
Red Cross was there to meet us. They gave each of us two packs 
of cigarettes and some razor blades. 

We spent the next few days in a British rest home, where we 
were treated fine. The Australian Red Cross gave us these gray 
uniforms, as well as shirts, shorts and shoes. They were really 
all right. 

Many members of the National Maritime Union carried batches 
of the latest American newspapers and magazines to the farthest 
corners of the world. Upon arrival in a foreign port, they were met 
by American Red Cross workers who accepted the reading material 
for distribution among United States troops. 

In the Seamen's Institute, New Orleans, the local Red Cross 
chapter gave first-aid training to some three hundred merchant sea- 
men on the "installment plan." Classes were held from time to time 
on whichever days the boys returned to port. 

A high percentage of merchant seamen gave blood regularly to 
the Red Cross blood donor centers on their brief shore leaves. When 
the ship John D. Whidden was commissioned on June 6, 1944, mem- 
bers of her crew concluded that the occasion called for a group 
blood donation. Twelve of the crew, National Maritime Union 
members, comprising all the men off watch at 6 P.M., made their 
donations in the Cleveland, Ohio, center on June 14. "The ship was 
commissioned on D~Day," they explained. "We're taking her to the 
east coast, and from there to the invasion area. We decided to do 
a little something for the boys already on the beachhead/' 

Many wartime seamen, when their ships tied up at Allied ports 
for a few days, made the American Red Cross service clubs their 


headquarters. They were given a clean bed (linen changed every 
night), good meals, and a homelike atmosphere complete with all 
the facilities available to servicemen. Also at their disposal was the 
American Red Cross field service. A sympathetic, understanding 
field director was available to help solve a personal problem, locate 
a friend, or if there was time, find out the condition of a sick rela- 
tive, or whether the expected baby had arrived. If a man's draw 
had run out, he might even get an emergency loan to keep him for 
the rest of his shore leave. 

Seaman Michael Trani, of Brooklyn, was one of the men who ex- 
perienced the benefits of the Red Cross field service. At a North 
African port, Seaman Trani walked into the office of Red Cross 
Field Director Joseph B. Lippincott, of Somerset, Pennsylvania, to 
ask for information about his wife who was expecting a baby. 

Lippincott dispatched an inquiry to Brooklyn, and the wait was 
on. This prospective father was a more pathetic case than other long- 
distance floor walkers whom Lippincott had aided. Again, and 
again, and again, Mike returned to the Red Cross office, each time 
more nervously anxious than before. "Any news today, eh?" 

Then came Mike's last call: his ship was pulling out and what 
should he do? 

Lippincott reassured him. "Listen in to radio station at 
period during the day, or have one of your shipmates listen in for 
you. As soon as the news comes from Brooklyn, we'll broadcast it 
to you on your ship." 

The "stork report" came the very next day: "Son Michael Louis 
born. Both fine." 

Lippincott immediately called the radio station and explained the 
situation to Captain Andre Baruch, former radio announcer, and 
now of Army Special Services. 

"Did you say Trani?" asked Captain Baruch. "Not Mike Trani? 
Why, he lives next door to me in Brooklyn." 

So Seaman Michael Trani received the news of his son's birth 
over his ship's radio at sea. 

As a group, seamen are known for beaching in a port^ resting a 
few days or nights, and then pulling out for another harbor, far 
distant, leaving their last port as but one more string of hazy mem- 
orieshere today, gone tomorrow. This is why American Red Cross 
Club Director George Weir of New York City was surprised to re- 
ceive the following letter signed by six members of the Seafarers' 
International Union of North America. Addressed to the South- 
ampton Red Cross club, the letter read: 


Words can hardly express the feeling of gratitude we have for 
the many services rendered us by your organization. 

You have made it possible for S.LU. members of the crew of our 
ship to contact brothers, sons and friends of the armed forces sta- 
tioned here in England, and this is a service which meant more than 
any words could express. 

Through your efforts, it was made possible for these servicemen 
to visit our ship as guests of our fellow men and their respective 
relatives, and again, the good effect this had on morale could never 
be put in words. 

May we then attempt to thank you by writing you this letter of 
deep and sincere appreciation so that you might be aware that we 
are truly appreciative. 

We can assure you that any S.LU. ship will do all in its power to 
show you their appreciation for your kind services. 

American Red Cross Nursing Service 

In World War I many nurses caring for sick and wounded serv- 
icemen wore the uniform and insignia of the American Red Cross. 
In World War II, this organization recruited graduate, registered 
nurses who were commissioned in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. 

On October i, 1940, more than a year prior to America's entry 
into the war, the first member of the War Reserve of the American 
Red Cross Nursing Service was called to active duty by the Army 
Nurse Corps. She was Agnes C. Roesle, of Washington, D.C., who, 
after service at the Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, and at 
Camps Wheeler and Stoneman, sailed for duty in Australia and New 

Following in Miss Roesle's footsteps, more than 60,000 nurses 
joined the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. In all the war theaters 
they gave efficient, devoted, and often heroic service to the armed 
forces. Some sacrificed their lives. 

However, nurses wearing the uniform of the American Red 
Cross performed many important duties on the home front, and 
some served in dangerous zones, 

To meet the urgent need of nurses after the Pearl Harbor attack, 
the American Red Cross, at the request of General Delos C. Emmons, 
the military governor, recruited in the United States seventy-five 
nurses for emergency service in the Hawaiian Islands. Nurses with 
disaster experience were given preference, and only those ineligible 


for military duty were accepted. Upon arrival in Honolulu, the 
nurses were assigned by the local Office of Civilian Defense to sta- 
tions on the different islands in the group. Wearing their Red Cross 
caps and insignia, and working under direction of the OCD, the 
nurses staffed emergency hospitals, first-aid stations, blood donor 
centers, and other emergency facilities set up for expected further 
Japanese attacks. In 1944, the danger to the Hawaiian Islands having 
passed, the Hawaiian unit of Red Cross nurses was disbanded. The 
opportunity was given to members of the unit to stay on individ- 
ually, and many elected to do so. In a tribute to these nurses, the 
Hawaiian OCD stated: "Personally and professionally they have 
shown themselves to be of outstanding excellence and this commu- 
nity owes them a debt of gratitude that will never be paid." 

Also outstanding was the group of Red Cross nurses who some 
months before Pearl Harbor, volunteered for duty in England with 
the American Red Cross-Harvard University Hospital, a loo-bed 
installation for the study and treatment of communicable diseases 
under wartime conditions. The Red Cross provided the nursing 
staff and Harvard University the medical staff, in addition to main- 
taining a public health unit for field and laboratory work in epi- 

Five acres of open field amid English poppies and bluebells near 
Salisbury in southern England were selected as the proposed hos- 
pital site. The American Red Cross undertook to build and equip 
a temporary or hut-type hospital, prefabricated in the United 
States, transported to England, and set up on foundations pro- 
vided by the British Ministry of Health. Across the submarine- 
infested Atlantic, in the holds of more than seventy ships, went 
boxes and cases of brass pipe fittings, building materials, kitchen 
utensils, sets of hospital and laboratory equipment, surgical supplies, 
and medicines. When the project was finally set up it consisted of 
twenty-two green huts housing a complete public-health unit, as well 
as the hospital and laboratory. 

To staff this unit, forty-eight Americans, including twenty-nine 
Red Cross nurses, sailed from Halifax in a British convoy in June, 
1941. Because of the thick fog, which lasted five days, the ships 
found it hard to stay in convoy formation. On the seventh day, 400 
miles from Greenland, one of the vessels, the S.S. Vigrid, limping 
behind because of engine trouble, was torpedoed by a German 
submarine and sunk. 

Clad in warm clothing and wearing their lifebelts, ten nurses were 
lowered into lifeboats two nurses in one boat, and four each in 
two other boats. With one group of four nurses were ten men from 

the passenger list and crew. As their boat rocked on the choppy 
waters, they were shocked to see a German submarine rise to the 
surface in front of them. A guttural voice shouted questions at them: 
How many ships were in the convoy? What were they carry- 
ing as cargo? What was their destination? No one answered and 
the submarine disappeared under water. 

For twelve days and eleven nights, the four nurses and ten men 
drifted about in the open sea, cold and hungry. Their feet and hands 
were severely frostbitten, and despair was settling down on them, 
when they were finally picked up by an Allied ship that took them 
to Iceland. Ultimately they were transferred to the Norfolk and 
brought home, the first women victims of the Battle of the Atlantic 
to reach, the United States. The young women were: Marion Blis- 
sett, Detroit, Michigan; Victoria Pelc, Auburn, New York; Lillian 
M. Pesnicak, Albany, New York; and Rachel St. Pierre, Newton 
Center, Massachusetts. 

In another lifeboat, Margaret Somerville, of Catskill, New York, 
and Helen Jurewicz, of South Amboy, New Jersey, had harrow- 
ing experiences of their own. With them were the first mate, chief 
engineer, and five other members of the ship's crew. It was cold 
and raining when they were set adrift in heavy seas; the surface was 
littered with floating wreckage. Taking survey of the water and 
food supplies, the survivors agreed to the issue of two ounces of 
water twice a day, one biscuit a day, and small rations of meat as 
long as it lasted. 

Recalling their experience, the two nurses said: 

We amused ourselves at first by describing in detail the meals 
we would eat when we reached home. But after the fourteenth 
day, when we failed to attract the attention of a passing ship, 
nobody troubled to talk. About that time the food supply gave 
out and we tried unsuccessfully to eat barnacles taken from 
wreckage. The only activity on board was using the distilling 
plant, with which we could make drinking water from the sea 
water about a quart every four or five hours. The men rigged 
up a shelter for us two women, but it did not help much. 

On the nineteenth day we were drifting in complete despair. 
Nothing mattered any more. Suddenly the chief mate spotted a 
destroyer on the horizon, and since it was three o'clock in the 
morning, we had to send up flares. Our spirits came back in a rush. 
It was as if a magician's wand had been passed over us. We 
laughed, cried, sang, and danced, and celebrated by drinking all 
the remaining water. 


The two young nurses were rushed to a London hospital where 
they soon recovered. Later they joined the staff of the Red Cross- 
Harvard University Hospital, for which they had volunteered. 

The four Red Cross nurses in the remaining lifeboat were never 
found, and they are presumed to have given their lives in the per- 
formance of their duties. They were: Phyllis L. Evans, Everett, 
Massachusetts; Dorothy L. Koehn, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Dorothy 
C. Morse, Boston, Massachusetts; and Nancy M. Pett, Detroit, 

The S.S. Maasdastty carrying sixteen Red Cross nurses and the 
hospital's housemother, Mrs, Ruth Breckenridge of Winston-Salem, 
North Carolina, in the same convoy, was also torpedoed. Mrs. 
Breckenridge and Maxine C. Looniis, of Putney, Vermont, were 
lost after a horrible experience in a leaky lifeboat. 

The other girls were rescued by a tanker and taken to England. 
They were met by representatives of the British Ministry of Health 
and the British Red Cross, and were received by Queen Elizabeth. 

Despite abnormal wartime conditions overcrowded air-raid 
shelters, disruption of sanitary installations by German bombs, over- 
work, and undernourishmentno epidemics developed in England 
during the fifteen months that the American Red Cross-Harvard 
University Hospital functioned. The number of nurses on the staff 
grew to sixty-two. Wearing their attractive blue serge suits and 
brimmed felt hats, bearing American Red Cross insignia, the nurses 
accompanied staff doctors on public health investigations about the 
country. They were lionized everywhere. People stopped them in 
the streets, on buses, and in restaurants to greet them with friendly 
remarks such as "Hello, America," and "Thank you." Strangers 
invited them to tea and dinner. In the shops, clerks addressed them 
with "Sister," the common British term for hospital nurses. 

In August, 1942, the buildings and equipment of the American 
Red Cross-Harvard University Hospital were taken over by the 
United States Army in Great Britain for use as an epidemiological 
unit in the field of preventive medicine. 

Thirty of the unit's sixty-two nurses, released from duty by the 
Red Cross, volunteered for the Army Nurse Corps, and remained 
in the European theater of operations. 



Abbott, Mrs. A. W., 31 

Abbott, Edwin L., 183, 184, 185 

Accord, Vivian, 115 

Accra, Africa, 189 

Adak Island, 208, 209 

Admiralty Islands, 221, 228, 230, 235 

Afrika Korps, 83-4, 85, 114, 140 

Agra, India, 144 

Aiea, 9 

Air forces, U.S.A., 49, $8, 84-96, 104, 
109, 208, 119-24, 139, 144, 160, 162, 
167, 189, 208, 264; Ferry Command, 


Air Force Victorettes, 52 
Air Transport Command, 188, 189, 190, 


Aitape, 228 
Akthar, Nabi, 148 
Alaska, 203-8 
Alaskan Chapter, 203-4 
Alcan Highway, 204, 207-8 
Aleutian Islands, 206, 208-12 
Alexander, Gen. Harold, 114 
Alexandria, Egypt, 84, 89, 96, 98 
Algeria, no, 118 
Algiers, 109, 110-13, n6, 124, 125, 128, 


Allen, Richard F., 44 
Allenby Bridge, 97 
Allied Club, Oran, 114, 115 
Allin, W. S., Jr., 5 
Aloha Tower, Honolulu, 3-4 
Amazon River, 188 
Amchatka Island, 208 ^ 
American Baptist Christians, 132 
American Field Service, 57 
Ames, Rosemary, 114 
Amphibian operations, 224-6 
Anchorage, Alaska, 204, 206 
Andaman Islands, 141 
Anderson, Clarence R., 231-2; quoted, 

Anderson County (Texas) Chapter, 


ANGAU, 59 
Antigua 186 
Anzacs, 85 
Anzio-Nettuno beachhead, 163, 247, 


Arabian Sea, 141 
Arabs, 96, 103-4, 108, 126 
Arawe, 228 
Archangel, Russia, 182 

ARC Light, 147; quoted, 147-8 

Argentia, Newfoundland, 198 

Arizona, 15 

Army, U. S. in Australia, 38-53 

Army General Hospital No. 13, 34 

Army General Hospitals: Australia, 
34, 54; Burma, 170; Hawaii, 7-8; 
New Guinea, 61 ; North Africa, 128 

Army Medical Corps, 60 

Army Special Services, me Special 

Arnold, Mary Jane, 149 

Arrowsmith, Brig. Gen. John, 164 

Aruba, 186 

Ascension Island, 189-93 

Ashley, C. W., 40 

Assam, India, 143, 149, 163, 165, 178 

Associated Press Bureau, Tokyo, 116 

Astaire, Adele, 262-3 

Astaire, Fred, 262 

Astie, Judy, 168 

Ataneo de Manila, 17 

Atkinson Field, 189 

Atkinson, Vicky, 279 

Attu, 208-9 

Auchinleck, Gen. Claude, 83-4 

Auckland, New Zealand, 45, 49 

Austin, Mary L, 288 

Australia, 32-55, 62, 64* 66, 67, 69, 73> 
74, 121, 305; American soldiers in, 
39-49; Brisbane defense plan, 38-9; 
care of wounded, 53-4; clubs. Red 
Cross, 43-8; farmers, 50-1 ; food sup- 
ply, 48; hospitals, 54; rest homes, 
49, 50-3,; recreation program,, 40-1; 
social conditions in, 41-2; supplies, 
Red Cross, 36-7; volunteer workers, 
47-8, 52-3; war base, 38-9, 42 

Australian- American Association, 55 

Australian Comforts Fund, 37, 45, 54-5 

Australian Red Cross, 31, 32, 34 37 

42-3, 54-5, SOS 

Australian Hiring Authority, 45, 50 
Australia-New Guinea Administrative 

Unit, 59 
Austria, 104 
Axis strategy, 82^4 

B.AJE.G programs, 116, 117 
Bahamas, 186 
Bahia, Brazil, i8S 
Bailey, Charles E., 103 
Bain, Ralph, 86, 103 

Baldwin, Ettienne, 194 

Balkan campaign, 83 

Banana Belt, 204 

Bannigan, Gerald, 191-3 

Barbados, 186 

Barbe, Wren, 172, 178, 179 

Bari, 98 

Barnhart, Henri, 289 

Barrett, Robert T., 199 ; quoted, 200 

Barrows, Gwen, 126 

Barton, Maj. Gen. R. O., 283-4 

Baruch, Capt Andre, 304 

Base Special Services, 176 

Bataan, 16, 37, 295 

Bates, Elizabeth, 209 

Bathurst, Africa, 189 

Bay of Bengal, 141 

Beaman, Pfc Joseph H., 147 

Beaty, Fanny R, 115 

Becker, Corporal R. H., 151; quoted, 


Bedouins, 96 
Belem, Brazil, 188 
Belena, 189 
Belgium, 286 
Benghazi, 82, 86, 89 
Benny, Jack, 89 
Benny, Mrs. Ruth, 9 
Berbers, 105 

Bergin, Brig. Gen. William, 157 
Berkner, Keith, 166-8, 169, 172 
Berney, Lois N., 119, 120, 246-7 
Bernhard, Frances, 129-30, 131-2 
Bernhard, Prince, 190 
Bernstein, Irving, 114 
Bess, Demaree, 117 
Bethlehem, 96, 97 
Biak, 228, 235 
Big Delta, 208 
Bill, 79-8i 

Binkley, Lt. M* Elizabeth, 190 
Bismarck Sea, 222 
Bissell, Maj. Gen. Clayton L., 144, 167 ; 

quoted, 144 

Bizerte, 109, 119, 124, 125, 128, 237 
B-Kit, 176 
Black Shirts, 82 

Blake, Katherine, 98; quoted, 98-101 
Blarney, Gen. Sir Thomas, 38, 44 
Bland, Mrs. Wm. J., 277 
Blissett, Marion, 307 
Bombay, India, 139 
Bomberger, Marge, 124, 127 
Bondi Beach, 53 
Bondy, Ruth, 122, 123 
Boner, Evangeline C, 288 
Bonesteel, Maj. Gen. Charles H,, 194, 

Bonnet, Henri, 117 


Boom, Marguerite, 189 

Boongs, 59, 60 

Borinquen Field, 188 

Borneo, 25, 52, 296 

Bougainville, 228 

Bowen, Lewis H., 223, 230; quoted, 


Bowring, Mrs. Alice (Mom) , 47 
Boyd, Maurice L., 206 
Boyle, Ruth S., 285 
Boyte, Harry G., 239-40 
Brace, Daniel L., 166 
Bradley, Col., 231 
Bradley, Lt Gen. Omar, 283 
Brady, Mary, 165 
Brazil, 84, 188-90 
Brazilian Red Cross, 189 
Breckenridge, Mrs. Ruth, 308 
Brereton, Lt. Gen. Lewis H., 92, 94 
Brisbane, Australia, 32, 38-9, 41-2, 49, 

53 ; defense plan, 38-9 
Brisbane River, 32, 42 
British armies, 118, 182, 194 238 
British Army Education Corps, 116, 


British Canteen Service, 265 
British Guiana, 186, 187, 189 
British Red Cross, 263, 292 
Brittain, Mrs. Verna, 52 
Brittainettes, 52 
Broer, Marion R., 165 
Brooke, Ellin, 220; quoted, 221 
Brooke, Lucy, 253, 254; quoted, 254-5 
Broughton, J. Melville, 248 
Broughton, Mildred H., 282; quoted, 


Browne, Mary K., 42-3 
Brumett, Robert H., 52 
Bruns, Katherine, 285 
Bruskin, James, 201-3 
Buck, Sgt John C., 151 
Buckland, Maj. William, 236 
Buckley, Mary, 218 
Bucknell University, 61 
Buffum, Mary T., 241-3 
Bulgaria, 83 

Bullard, Russell, 237-8, 239 
Buna, 49, 56-70, 168, 221, 222, 233 
Burma, 38, 57, 139-41, 159, 162-80, 189, 

190, 296; clubs, Red Cross, 166-8, 

172-8; hospitals, 169-74; recreation 

programs, 172-8 
Burma Basha Club, 166 
Burma Road, 139, 140, 163 
Burma Surgeon, 140 
Bums, Murray, 114 
Burns, treatment of, 12 
Butler, John, 274 
Byrd, Admiral Richard E., 207 

Cadwalader, Helen, 209; quoted, 209- 

Cadwell, Larry, 125 

Cairns, Australia, 39 

Cairo, Egypt, 86, 89, 94, 95, 101-3 

Calcutta, India, 141, 144, 149, 172 

Calumet-Keweenaw (Michigan) Chap- 
ter, 236 

Camp Butner, 247 

Camp Pickett, 74 

Camp Stoneman, 305 

Camp Wheeler, 305 

Canadian forces, 197-8, 208, 238 

Canadian Red Cross, 292, 295 

Canberra, Australia, 30, 32 

Canteen corps: British, 265; Hawaii, 
6-7, 14 ; New Guinea, 219-20 ; India, 

Cantrell, Helen H., 260 

Cap Bon, 85, 119, 124 

Cape Esperance, 76, 78 

Cape Gloucester, 228, 231, 233-5, 298 

Cape Iris, 230, 231 

Cape of Good Hope, 84, 86 

Capernaum, Palestine, 97 

Cape Sudest, 232, 233 

Capri, 241 

Caribbean area, 186-8 

Caritas I and //, 292 

Carl, Nell M., 171 

Carlson, Bertha, 165, 171, 172 

Carolines, 222 

Carpenter, Juliet, 6 

Carroll, Col. Percy J., 16, 19, 24, 28-31, 


Carroll, Helen Marie, 61 ; quoted, 61-4 

Carter, Bernard S., 259 

Casablanca, Africa, 109, no, 113, 128; 

Conference, 105 
Caserta, Italy, 250 
Casey, Herbert S., 274 
Cassidy, Pfc John, 167 
Castle, Alfred L., 5 
Castle Kindergarten, Honolulu, 12 
Catacombs, Alexandria, 96 
Catledge, Turner (quoted), 98 
Cavendish, Lady, 262-3 
Cavite Navy Yard, 19, 21 
Celebes Sea, 26, 30 
Ceylon, India, 141, 303 
Chakulia, 143 
Chandler, Star, 114 
Chapin, Carolyn, 129; quoted, 129-31 
Chartres, France, 281 
Chatten, Janet, 240 
Chengtu, China, 160 
Chennault, Gen. Claire L., 57, 162, 190 
Cherbourg, France, 273-5 
Chiang Kai-shek, Mme., 190 

Chicago Daily News, 117 

Chicago Sun, 117 

China, 45, 139-41, 143, 145, 146, I57~ 

62, 189, 190 
Chindits, 169 

Chinese armies, 139-40, 162, 164, 169 
Chow, Col. L. H., 157 
Christensen, Nyles L, 54 
Christian Science Monitor, 117, 126 
Christmas celebrations, 23, 64-70, 194-5, 

202, 242, 245, 250, 295 
Chungking, China, 141, 157, 160 
Churchill, Winston, 163 
Church of Agony, 97 
Church of Nations, 97 
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, 97 
Cinemobiles, 274, 287-8 
Cisterna, Italy, 251-2 
Civilian relief, 235, 276 
Clark, Elizabeth, 194 
Clark Field, 20, 21, 23, 26 
Clark, Lt. Gen. Mark, 239, 246; quoted, 


Clayton, Louise, 281 
Climo, Emily, 200 
Clizbe, Wilma, 277 
Clubmobile Rangers, 268 
Clubmobiles, 95, 106, in, 121, 183, 
244-6, 266-8; Burma, 168; France, 
274, 278-89; Guadalcanal, 78; Italy, 
240-1 ; New Guinea, 219-21 ; North 
Africa, 119-24 
Club Papuan, 46 

Clubs, Red Cross : Alaska, 204-5, 207 ; 
Aleutians, 211; Australia, 43-8; 
Burma, 166-8, 172-8; China, 157-8; 
Great Britain, 260-4; India, 165-8; 
Italy, 239-41 ; mobile, 94-5 ; see Club- 
mobiles; New Guinea, 219; North 
Africa, 92-101, 106, HO, 112-15; 
Philippines, 236 
Club Victoire, 274, 277 
Clymer, Mrs. James F., 46 
Cobb's Camp, Newfoundland, 197 
Cockatoos, 41 
Coleman, Betty, 240 
Coleman, Mary (quoted), 281 
Collier's, 117 
Commandos, British, 247 
Comite de la Liberation, 117 
Congo, 292 

Connally, Maj. Gen. Donald H., 183 
Constantine, Africa, 1 08, in, 113 
Cooch Behar, Maharajah of, 150 
Coolangatta, Australia, 49 
Coome House, 265 
Coral Sea, Battle of, 39, 46, 64 
Cordova, Alaska, 204 
Corlett, Gen. Charles E., 205 


Cormack, E. J., 263-4 

Corps Franc d'Afrique, 114 

Corregidor, 18, 19, 23, 24, 295 

Corsica, 240 

Cotter, Margaret, 93, 95 J quoted, 93-4 

Coutts, Flora Jane, 160 

Cox, Amelia, 171 

Cox, Cheshire, 127 

Craig, Dorothy, 190 

Crete, 83 

Crews, Pfc E. W., 161 

Crocker, Kathleen, 279 

Crosby, Bing, 206, 281 

Crow, Esther, 123 

Cuba, 186 

Cullen, Anne Kathleen, 278 

Cullen, James W., 19, 22 

Cunningham, Admiral Andrew, 114 

Cunyus, Col. Paul A,, 90 

Curagao, 186, 187 

Currie, Gladys, 246 

Dances, 48, 94, 123, 150-1, 161, 210 

Daniel, Sgt. Arthur, 127 

Daniels, Dons, 218 

Daniels, Josephus, 248 

Danny, 51 

Darby, Col. William O., 247 

Darlan, Admiral, 109 

Darwin, Australia, 26, 30, 31, 3, 52 

Darwin Chapter, 31 

Davao, 25 

Davies, Elsie, 260 

Davies, W. Lloyd, 281 ; quoted, 282 

Davis, Norman H , 18, 37, 44, 293 

Davis, S/Sgt Wesley E., 147 

Dawson Creek, B. C,, 208 

Day, Richard, 223, 230 

Dead Sea, 96, 97 

Decanter, 67 

Decker, Margaret, 245-6 

De Costas, Beatrice, 160 

De Cotis, Rose Marie, 123 

De Graff, CoL George, 70 

Delta Barrage, 96 

Dengue fever, 40, 60 

Diamond Head, 4 

Dieppe raid, 247 

Dietz, Maj. George, 32 

Dinwoodey, Margaret, 171 

Disosway, John S., 259 

Ditty bags, 107 

Djebel Tahent, 123 

Dockthorn, Jean, 276 

Doctors: army, 16, 28-9, 60, 284-5, 
297, 298; Filipino, 16, 21, 24; Ha- 
waii, 14-15 

Doering, Katherine, 285 ; quoted, 285-6 

Dolliver, Mary, 194 

Domingo, Mrs., 27 

Don Estebdn, 18, 19 

Donut Dugouts, 269 

Doolittle, Lt Gen. James H., 119 

Dorsey, Tommy, 157 

Doughgirls, 123 

Doughnuteers, 121 

Douglas, Capt. Melvyn, 149 

Douglass, W. Birch, 274 

Drummond, Robert, 160 

Duckmobiles, 277 

Dumbleton Beach, 52 

Duncan, Muriel B., 152; quoted, 152-3 

Duncan, Nancy, 194 

Dunkirk, Frances Nell, 200 

Durdin, Mrs. Tillman, 46 

Dutch Guiana, 186, 187 

Dutch Harbor, 208 

Dutch West Indies, 186, 187 

Dyerson, Capt. Delmar, 254 

Dysentery, 60 

Eagle Club, London, 260 

Ecuador, 186 

Edge, Sarah, 171 

Edmonds, Audrey, 168 

Edmonton, Alberta, 206, 208 

Edwards, Webley, 8 

EFM, 63, 68 

Egypt, 82, 83, 86, 95-6, 109, 118 

Egypt-Palestine-India tents, 87, 165 

Eichelberger, Lt. Gen. Robert L., 69, 70 

i8th Special Services, 176 

Eighth Air Force, U. S., 264 

Eighth Army, British, 82, 85, 102, 103, 

109, 116, 189, 238, 239 
823rd Engineers, 164 
82nd Airborne Division, 239 
Eimeo Beach, 52 
Eisenhower, Gen. D wight D., 108-9, 

238, 260, 298 
El Agheila, 82, 83, 85 
El Alamein, 84, 85, 87, 89, 92, 103, 109, 


Eldridge, Richard B., 141 
Eleventh Air Force, U. S., 208 
Eleventh Marines, 232 
El Gazala, 83 
El Guettar, 118, 247 
Elizabeth, Queen, 308 
Ellis, Capt. Harry O., 126 
Emmons, Gen. Delos C., 305 
Engeman, Frances, 253 
Engineer Island, 19 
England, see Great Britain 
Ennis, Nell, 10-11 
Ent, Brig. Gen. U. G., 93-4 
Entis, Roberto Pare, 90 
EPI tents, 87, 165 

Eric the Red, 199, 200 

Ernst, Karl W., 208 

Erskine, Margaret De Wolfe, 165, 


Eskimos, 200-1 
Ethiopia, 82 

Evans, Dryhurst G., 194 
Evans, Phyllis L., 308 
Expeditionary Force Message, 63, 68 

Faid Pass, 118 

Fairbanks, Alaska, 204 208 

Farrand, Louisa, 273 

Fellmeth, Lt Floramund Ann, 16, 19, 

24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34 
Fifth Air Force, U. S., 49, 58 
Fifth Army : Chinese, 139 ; U. S., 239 
57th Fighter Group, 86-8 
5307 Club, 172-8 
Filipinos, 20-1, 24, 26-8, 34 
Financial policy, 44, 51, 261 
Fincke, Allen W., in, 113 
Fineberg, Capt. Joseph N., 249 
Finn, 292 

Finschhafen, 222, 228 
First Army: British, 109, 118; U. S., 

280, 285 

First Marine Division, 222, 231-3 
First Ranger Battalion, 248-52 
Fitch, Judy, 166 
Flake, William, 34 
Fleck, Betty, 198 
Fleet clubs, 270 
Florence, Italy, 241 
Florida Island, 72 
Fluharty, William R. r 41 
Flying Tigers, 57, 140 
Food : Australia, 48, 50-1 ; Britain, 

261; India, 145-6; North Africa, 

119-20; prisoners', 292 
Force, Virginia, 277 
Ford, Jeni Jean, 281 
Foreign Legion, 114 
Formosa, 295 
Forster, Charles, 18-19 
Fort Nelson, 208 
Fort, Randy, 248 ; quoted, 248-50 
Fort Raymond, Alaska, 206 
Fort Richardson, 204, 206 
Fort Stotsenburg, 21, 23 
Fort William McEanley, 22 
45th Engineers, 164 
45th Quartermaster's, 164 
Fourteenth Air Force, U. S., 160, 162 
I4th Evacuation Hospital, Burma, 169- 


Fourth Ranger Battalion, 248, 250-2 
Fowles, Miriam, 29 
Frame, Elsa, 120 

France, 82, 163, 268, 273-89; clubmo- 
biles, 278-89; hospitals, 276-8 

Franklin, Martha L., 200 

Free Corps of Africa, 114 

French Morocco, 105, no 

French National Committee of Libera- 
tion, 117 

French troops, 48, 109, 114 

Freyberg, Lt. Gen., 118 

Friedenthal, Genevieve, 129-30 

Frizee, Lt, 90, 91 

Funkey, Lucille, 171 

Gafsa, 118 

Galapagos Islands, 186 

Gallagher, Margaret, 200 

Gamble, Charles K., 37, 44 

Gander, Newfoundland, 198 

Garden City Chapter, 15 

Garden of Gethsemane, 97 

Gassner, Lt E. C, 161 

Gatch, Nancy, 131 

Gates, Floyd H., 273, 274 

Gavutu, 71, 72 

Gaynor, Elizabeth M., 171 

Geiger, Corp. Robert, 168 

Gela, Sicily, 247 

Gendreau, Capt. E. A. M., 299-300 

Geneva Convention (1929), 290-2, 294 

Germany (Germans), 82-4; clubmo- 

biles in, 285-6; prisoners in, 290-6 
Gibson, Harvey D. 259, 260, 266-7, 


Gibson, John S., 37 
Giddy, Star, 165, 166 
Gilbert Islands, 222 
Giraud, Gen., 109, 114 
Glasgow, Scotland, 260, 269 
Godthaab, Greenland, 199 
Goetz, Bernice, 188, 189 
Gona, New Guinea, 64, 221, 222 
Goodell, Frank, 113 
Goodell, Jane, 194 
Goodridge, Roy L., 86, 88; quoted, 

86-7, 88, 92 

Goodwin, Frances, 281 
Gordon, Jean, 283 
Gray, John F., 6 
Gray, Ruth, 281 
Graybeal, Harold, 21, 23 
Gray Ladies, 9, n, 23 
Graziani, Marshal Rodolpho, 82 
Great Britain (England), 44, 82, 84, 

104, 109, 1 10, 121, 189, 193, 196-8, 

306; Americans in, 258-72; clubs, 

Red Cross, 260-4; fleet clubs, 270; 

recreation centers, 269; rest homes, 

Great Exuma, 186 


Greece, 83 

Greenland, 193, 198-203, 306 

Greethan, Camelia, 194 

Gregory, T/Sgt. Robert L., 151 

Grenholm, George y 95 

Grew, Ambassador Joseph C, 190 

Gripsholntf 295, 296 

Griswold, Jeannette, 207 

Gross, Morris, 204-5 

Guadalcanal, 41, 46, 71-8, 168 ; Marines 

on, 71-8; natives, 76 
Guam, 223 
Guatanamo Bay, 186 
Guianas, 186, 187, 189 
Gulf of Sidra, 82 
Gundy, Pfc John, 167, 169 
Gunter, Douglas, 183 
Gunther, Marcille, 52 

Hackworth, Anne Lillian, 183-5 

Hagen, Frank H., 194 

Haifa, 97 

Haiti, 186 

Hakusan Maru, 296 

Halbcdl, Renee, 6 

Halfaya Pass, 83, 86 

Hall, Helen, 45, 48, 50, 64; quoted, 64-8 

Halmaheras, 222 

Halsey, Admiral, 47, 222 

Handicrafts, 172, 202 

Hanson, Virginia Alice, 172 

Hardy, Yeoman i/c Alexander G., 157 

Harris, Mrs., 264 

Harris County (Texas) Chapter, 236 

Hart, Jascah, 276 

Harvard Unit, 54 . . c 

Harvard University Hospital, 306, 308 

Hatch, Mary Mills, 95 

Haughwout, Anne, 106 

Haw, Stanley A., 163, 166; quoted, 


Hawaii, 3-15, 255, 3o6"7 
Hawaii Chapter, 3-15 
Hayden, Capt. Reynolds H., n 
Hayes, Capt. John, 207 
Hearell, SgL Robert F., 147 
Heatley, Mrs. W. J., 32 
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 97 
Helas, Beth, 95 
Henderson Field, 73, 75, 78 
Henie, Sonja, 206 
Henry, 192-3 
Henri Dunant, 292 
Hernando, Basilia, 29 
Hervey, Capt., 33 
Hickam Field, 4, 7, 8, 9> 13 
Higgins, Lt, 171 
Higgs, W. H., 198 
Himalayas, 147-8, 163 


Hinchcliffe, Maj. Leroy C., 88 

Hiram College, 80 

Hitchcock, Betty, 120 

Hitler, Adolf, 82, 83, 250 

Hobbs, Mrs. Frances, 22-3 

Hobbs, Col. Louis, 94 

Hodges, Gen., 280 

Holcombe, Brig. Gen. W. H. (quoted), 

Holiday Inn, 206 

Hollandia, New Guinea, 54, 228, 235 

Holt, Bill, 123 

Holy Land, 96-8 

Home Service (Corps), 15, 63, 81, in, 
129, 256 

Hong Kong, 139; prison camps, 295-6 

Honolulu, Hawaii, 3-15, 360; County 
Medical Society, 7 

Hopkins, Harry, 119, 246 

Horine, Ruth, 171 

Horst, Jacob, 198 

Hospital Motion Picture Service, 205-6 

Hospitals: Alaska, 204; Aleutians. 
210; Australia, 34, 36, 54; British, 
128; Burma, 169-74; Caribbean area. 
1 86; France, 276-8; Greenland, 
200-1; India, 152-3; Italy, 252-7; 
Middle East, 101-2; New Guinea, 
60-4; North Africa, 128-32; Philip- 
pines, 1 6, 21, 123-4; portable, 60-4; 
Southwest Pacific, 54, 220 

Hospital ships, 16-35, 53, 277 

Howard, Matthew, 2X)8 

Howard, Walter L., 37 

Hubbell, Dorothy H., 165 

Huddle, Mary Alice, 189 

Huerto, Chief Mate, 24, 27 

Hughes, Isabella, 245 

Hukawng Valley, 163 

Hull, Cordell, 290 

Hume, Rita, 108, 124; quoted, 108-9, 

Hump, 144, 145, 161 

Hump Happy, 148 

Hunter, Dwight H., 52 

Hurley, Maj. Gen. Patrick J., 190 

Huss, Pierre, 117 

Iceland, 193*7, 3<>7 

Icelandic Red Cross, 194 

Imphal, India, 140 

India (Indians), 82, 85, no, 121, I39~ 
56, 189, 190; climate, 142; clubs, 
Red Cross, 142-52, 165; food, 145-6; 
hospitals, 1 52-3 J natives, 148, 153-6, 
172; recreation programs, 142-9 

Indian Ocean, 52, 82, 141, 303 

Indian Red Cross, 172 

Indo-China, 38 

Information Service, 13 

Ingram, Jean, 106 

Innes, Mrs. Anne-Morris, 149 

International News Service, 117 

International Red Cross Committee, 
291-3, 295 

Intramuros, Manila, 20 

Iran, 82, 182-4 

Iraq, 82 

Ireland, 197, 247, 259 

Irrawaddy River, 170 

Irving, Thomas W., 260 

Isserman, Dr. Ferdinand M., 116, 117 

Italy (Italians), 82-4, 103, 104, no, 
118, 119, 189, 190, 239-57, 297; clubs, 
Red Cross, 239-41 ; hospitals, 252-7 

"It's No Life for a Lady," 289 

Jackson, Gordon, 247-51 

Jaffa, 96 

Jamaica, 186 

Japan : military strategy, 58, 73, 139-41, 

208 ; prisoners in, 293, 295-6 
Jariman, Sgt. Robert, 147 
Java, 5_2, 296 

Java^Jive Club, Chungking, 157 
Jeanie the Swine, 150 
Jeepmobile, 95 
Jeeps, 70, 90-2, 106 
Jefron, 90 
Jericho, 96, 97 
Jerusalem, 96, 97 
Jews, 96, 97, 103, 104 
John D. Whidden, 303 
Johnson, Col. A. L, P., 32 
Johnson, Joni, 288 
Johnson, Nelson, 30 
Johnson, Mrs. Verna, 115 
Jones, Betty, 244-6 
Jones, Nancy M., 260 
Jordan River, 96, 97 
Jorhat, 173, 176 

Julianehaab, Greenland, 149, 201 
Jungle, 60-1, 219 
Jurewicz, Helen, 307 

Kachin tribesmen, 168 

Kaiser, Henry, 96 

Kaltenborn, H. V., 190 

Kangaroos, 41 

Karachi, India, 139, 141, 142, 143, *49 

Kasserine Pass, 118, 126, 247 

Katzenbach, William, 93 

Kaufman, Nathan H., 165 

Keck, Florence, 101 

Keflavik, Iceland, 195 

Kellogg, Ruth, 197 

Kelly, Leota, 67 

Kelly, Lora, 112; quoted, 112-13 

Kenney, Lt. Gen. George C., 49, 50, 58, 

66, 221 

Kerr, Mrs. Alma B., 157 
Ketchikan, Alaska, 204 
Khamsin^ 86 
Khorramshahr, 183, 184 
Kia Ora, New Zealand, 49 
Kid Glove Killer, The, 56 
Kincaid, Admiral, 221 
King, Eliza, 284; quoted, 284-5 
King, John M , 86 
Kingham, Horace, 176 
Kinsolving, Lucie Lee, 113 
Kirk, Tim H., 141 ; quoted, 142 
Kirkpatrick, Helen, 117 
Kiska, 208, 223 
Kislingbury, Fred F., 205 
Knapp, Mrs. Ethel, 61, 63 
Knickerbocker, H. R., 117 
Knight, Kathleen, 278 
Kodiak, Alaska, 205, 206, 208 
Koehn, Dorothy L., 308 
Kokoda, New Guinea, 58 
Kokoda Trail, 58* 62 
Koli Point, 78 
Korea, 295 

Kormann, William, 95 
Krider, Elizabeth, 286 
Kriegie Times, 294 
Krueger, Gen. Walter, 235 
Kunming, China, 145, 160, 161 
Kweilin, China, 160 

Lae, 221, 222, 228 

Larsen, Howard, 235 

Larson, Mrs. Daniel, 14-15 

Lashio, Burma, 140 

Layne, Porter C., 141 

Layton, Philip, 231-2 

LCIL's, 223 

LCM*s, 223, 224 

LCVPs, 223 

Le Clerc, Gen. Jacques, 114 

Ledo, India, 163, 165, 167, 169, 170 

Ledo Road, 162-8 

Leech, George, 235 

Leeward Islands, 186 

Leghorn, Italy, 241 

Leif Ericsson, 200 

Leinback, Mildred, 130 

Leitzke, Capt. Ella G., 252, 254; 

quoted, 254 
Leniere, Madeline, 171 
Lend-lease, 39 
Lennox, Gerry, 157 
Letters, 132-7, 209 
Lewis, Earl, 166 
Lewis, Marvin, 114 
Lewis, Robert C., 259, 260 


Lewis, Robert E., 102, 223 

Leyte Island, 54, 235 

Libya, 79-104, 189 

Licata, Sicily, 238 

Life, 99 

Lippincott, Joseph B., 304 

Liss, Eleanor, 157 

Little, Pearl P., 175 

LitvinofT, Maxim, 190 

Lobito, 292 

Loglai, Burma, 166 

London, Jack, 207 

Londonderry, Ireland, 260 

London Times, 117 

Loomis, Maxine C, 308 

Los. Angeles Chapter, 14, 15, 236 

LST's, 223, 224, 232, 235 

Lubin, Isadore, 119 

Lucas, Lenor, 46 

Lucas, Walter, 46 

Lucky Cisco Kid, The, 206 

Lucrino, Italy, 250 

Lunga Point, 78 

Lunga River, 76 

Lusty, Grey M,, 45, 48-50 

Lutz, Mrs. Margaret H., 8 

LVT's, 236 

Lynch, Beatrice M., 141 

Lyons, Sgt, Joseph, 157 

Maasdam, 308 

Mac Arthur, Gen. Douglas, 16, 20-2, 

26-7, 37-9, 42, 54, 58, 64, 65, 68, 

70, 222, 235; quoted, 221 
MacArthur's Amphibs, 22-3 
McCarthy, Mrs. Frank J. (Gladys), 9 
McClellan (Miss) Norris, 172, 178 
McDermott, John P., 194 
McDonald, Charles, 194 
McDonald, Joseph, 302 
McGill, Frances, 189 
McHale, Thomas Ford, 259-60 
Mackay, Australia, 48-50 
McKenna, Emile, 101 
McKenna, Walter, 114 
McKenzIe, L. R., 31 
McLaughlin, Loretta, 288 
McLean, Corporal, 8 
Macmillan, Harold, 117 
McMurren, Sgt Joe, 75 
Macpherson, Sue, 120 
Mac tan, 16-36 
Madame Curie, 185 
Makassar (Strait), 30 
Maknassy, 118 
Malange, 292 

Malaria, 40, 42, 50, 60, 142 
Malaya, 37, 140, 296 
Malin, Douglass, 50, 52 

Malta, 127 

Mandalay, Burma, 140 

Mangalore, 292 

Manila, 16-26 

Mankato Chapter, 15 

Maoris, 49 

March of Death, 295 

Mareth Line, 104, 114, 118 

Margherita, India, 165, 168 

Mariana Islands, 222 

Marines, U. S., 41-9, 71-8, 222, 231-5, 
298; in Australia, 41-9; on Guad- 
alcanal, 71-8; in New Britain, 

Maritime Commission, 188 

Marlar, Sgt. Robert, 147 

Marrakech, Africa, 105 

Marshall Islands, 222 

Martin, Dorothy Anne, 141 

Mason, Joe, 125 

Massman, Beatrice, 197 

Matanikau, 78 

Matthews, Mrs. Joyce, 165-6 

Maupin, Carey, 205 

Maurois, Andre, 117 

Medical Corps, no; see also Doctors, 

Mediterranean, 83, 84, 86, 257 

Meeks, Lt, 90, 91 

Melanesians, 59 

Melbourne, Australia, 37, 42, 44, 52, 

57, 221 

Memphis, 96 

Merchant Marine, 144; Red Cross 

services for, 301-5 
Merrill, Brig. Gen. Frank D., 140, 168, 

170-1, 173, 178 
Merrill's Marauders, 140, 162, 163, 


Mersa Matruh, Egypt, 82, 109 
Meyers, Albert, 188 
Mick, Lucille, 198 
Middle East, 38, 82, 86, 95, 121, 184, 


Middle East Air Force, 84, 85 
Middleton, Drew, 117 
Milburn, Mahlon T., 37 
Miles, Capt. M. W., 157 
Military and Naval Welfare Service, 


Millier, Isobel, 270 ; quoted, 270-2 
Milne Bay, 58 
Mindanao, 25 

Moen, Mary Ross, 119, 120 
Mohanbi, 172 
Moir, Mrs. Goodale, 12 
Molyneux, Mrs. A. V., 5 
Momand, Don S., 274, 283 
Montague Island, 206 

Montgomery, Gen. Bernard Law, 85, 
103, 114. n8, 120, 128, 189, 239 

Montgomery, Thomas S., 74-8 

Moody, Helen Wills, 42 

Moorad, George, 68, 69; quoted, 69-70 

Moore, Lt Donovan B., 151 

Moore, Elsa Adrienne, 150; quoted, 

Moran, Charles W., 200 

Morgan, Esther, 52 

Morin, Relman, 116-17 

Morotai, 228, 235 

Morotail Island, 222 

Morse, Dorothy C, 308 

Moser, Mrs. E. L., 46 

Moss, Camilla, 266, 280 

Motor Corps; Australian, 34; Ha- 
waiian, 12-13 

Mountbatten, Admiral Lord Louis, 163 

Movie films, 56, 64, 205-6 

Muchow, Edwin, 208 

Mueller, Julia, 169 

Mueller, Merrill, 117 

Munda, 168 

Munson, George, in, 112 

Murmansk, Russia, 182 

Murphy, Robert, 117 

Murray, Lt. Col. Roy A., 246, 249; 
quoted, 249-50 

Music, 75 

Mussolini, Bemto, 82, 250 

Myitkyina, Burma, 167, 170, 171, 189 

Nace, Murray, 246 

Naga Hills, 163, 172 

Nahl, Maryles, 253-4 

Napier, Jean P., 260 

Naples, Italy, 100, 239-41, 247, 249, 250 

Napoleon, 190 

Natal, Brazil, 188-92 

National Catholic Welfare Conference, 

National Research Council, 300 

Nau, Catherine L., 23 

Nauzha Gardens, Alexandria, 96 

Naval hospitals, 7-12, 54 

Navy, U. S., 41-9, 109, 269-70 

Navy Welfare and Recreation, 206 

Nazareth, 97 

Neal, Alva, 186, 187; quoted, 187-8 

Nebi Daniel Mosque, Alexandria, 96 

Negroes: American soldiers, 130, 139, 
144, 164, 178, 183, 207, 260; natives, 
46, 48, 54, 67, 74, 218; pygmies, 59 

Nepal, Maharajah of, 164 

Netherlands East Indies, 38, 139, 140 

Netherlands West Indies, 186, 187 

Nettuno, Italy, 250, 252 

Never-Never Land, 39 

Neville, Capt Robert, 116, 117 

New Britain, 38, 58, 221, 222, 228, 231, 

New Caledonia, 45-8, 58, 73 

New Delhi, India, 140, 143 

Newdick, Ann, 278; quoted, 279-80 

Newfoundland, 193, 197-8 

New Guinea, 38, 39, 46, 49, Si, 53, 54, 
56-70, 121, 213-30, 305; campaign, 
58-9,^ 213-30; Christmas m, 64-8; 
hospitals, 60-4; jungle life, 60-1 ; na- 
tives, 59-61, 67, 218 ; recreation, 226 ; 
wounded, care of, 60-4, 214-15, 

New Hebrides, 58, 73 

Newman, Edith, 209 

Newman, Ruby, 114 

New Orleans Chapter, 303 

Newsweek, 117 

New Yorker, 68 

New York Times, 98, 117, 184 

New Zealand, 37, 39, 44, 46, 48, 54, 73* 

New Zealanders, 118 

New Zealand Patriotic Fund, 45 

Nhpum Ga r 169 

Nichols Field, 22 

Nickerson, Mrs. Lois, 141 

Nile River, 82, 96 

Nimitz, Admiral Chester W., n r 222 

95th Evacuation Hospital, 255-6 

Ningbyen, Burma, 167 

Ninth Army Air Force, 79, 82, 84-96, 
104, 189, 264 

Ninth Artillery Division, 124-8 

Ninth Infantry Division, 275 

Nissen huts, 195, 200 

Noenfoor, 228, 235 

Nome, Alaska, 204-5 

Norbeck, Selma, 120 

Norfolk, 307 

Norman, Gerald, 117 

Normandy, 196, 270, 274, 276, 278 

North Africa, 79-i<>4 p5~37 189, 240, 
241, 247, 255 ; American invasion of, 
109-10; casualties, 128; civilian re- 
lief, 102-4; clubmoblles, 119^24; 
clubs, Red Cross, 92-6, 105-6, 112-15; 
club tours, 95-8; doughnuts, 119-20; 
girls, Red Cross, 92-3, 106-9; hospi- 
tals, 101-2, 128-32; living conditions, 
86-8 ; military campaigns, 79^85, 109- 
10, 118-19, 124, 128; recreation, 87- 
92 ; Town Hall programs, 115-18 

North Atlantic line, 182 

North Cape, 182 

Northern Territory, Australia, 38-40 

Norway, 182, 201 

Northwest African Air Forces, 119 




Nurses, 14, 21, 24, 49, 61-5, 305-8; 
army, 16, 61-5, 199, 218, 252, 254, 
05; Filipino, 16, 21, 24; Hawaii, 14; 
^ avy, 305 ; Red Cross, 305-8 

Oahu Island, 4 

Oakland Chapter, 231 

O'Brien, Capt William, 301; quoted, 


Odell, Lt. Robert H., 32, 33 
Okay Club, 151 

Oman, David S., 71 ; quoted, 71-3 
1 53rd Station Hospital, 61 
I7ist Evacuation Hospital, 61 
Oran, 109, no, 113 
Osmena, Sergio, 236 
Over Here, 289 
Overstreet, Catherine, 287 
(Owen) Stanley Range, 58, 60, 65, 218, 


Painton, Fred, 116 

Palestine, 95 

Palmer, Ely E., 34 

Panama Canal Zone, 168, 186 

Panama Canal Zone Chapter, 302 

Pandacen, Philippines, 19 

Papua (-ns), 46, 57, 59~6i, 67, 70, 220 

ParamusMro, 208 

Paris, France, 274 

Parnamerim Field, 187, 188 

Par see wedding, 154-5 

Pasadena Chapter, 236 

Pashley, Almena, 106 

Pasternack, Betty, 218 

Patch, Maj. Gen. Alexander M., 74, 77 

Patton, Lt. Gen. George S., 118, 239* 

280, 283 

Patrick Herbert L., 52 
Pearl Harbor, 3-14, 20, 57, 58, 139, 255, 

293, 305; plasma at, 300 
Pearl Reef, 25-6 

Peckham, Capt. George M., 238-9 
Pelc, Victoria, 307 
Pennsylvania, 299 

Persian Gulf Service Command, 182-6 
Perth, Australia, 45 
Peru, 186 
Pesante, Helen, 8 
Pesnicak, Lillian M., 307 
Peterman, Ivan H. (Cy), 117, 297; 

quoted, 297-8 
Peters, Mrs., 31 
Peterson, Freda, 171 
Peterson, Ruth, 165 
Petri, Otto L., 230 
Pett, Nancy M., 308 
Pflueger, Mrs. Wayne, 6 
Philadelphia Inquirer, 117 

Philippine Army, 16, 20, 24 

Philippine Islands, 16-24, 37-9, 45, 54> 
221, 222, 235-6, 296; internment 
camps in, 295 

Philippine Red Cross, 20-4, 35 

Philippine Scouts, 16, 22 

Phillips, Sgt. R.H., 161 

Pick, Brig". Gen. Lewis A., 164 

Pilot, The, 302-3 

Plasma, blood, 12, 30, 60, 234, 236, 297- 

Plasma Ridge, 298 

Ploesti, Rumania, 98, 104 

Poague, Harry E., 68, 223 

Port Moresby, New Guinea, 38, 57-69, 
221, 223 

Port Tewfik, Egypt, 86 

Poshusta, D. C, 186 

Preas, Capt Maxine, 282 

Preble, Eleanor, 120 

President Adams, 72 

Prince, William L., 274 

Prisoners of war, 128, 290-6; in Ger- 
many, 128, 290-5; in Japan, 295-6 

Prisoners of War Bulletin, 293-4 

PT boats, 222, 224 

Puerto Rico, 186, 188 

Puerto Rico Chapter, 302 

Purvis, Maj. Melvin, 117 

Pyle, Ernie, 106, 116, 274, 298; quoted, 

Pyramid Mt, 206 

Pyramids, 95, 96 

Qattara Depression, 84-5 

Quebec Conference, 163 

Queen, Ellery, 170 

Queens Hospital, Honolulu, 7, 10 

Queensland, Australia, 38, 39, 47, 221 

Quezon, Manuel, 24, 236 

Quinlan, Betsy Lane, 194 

euist, Elmer A., 259 
uonset huts, 206, 209, 210 

Rabaul, New Britain, 58 
Ragland, Joseph P., 32 
Railway, Australian, 48 
Rainbow Corner, London, 261-2 
Randolph, Jane, 52 
Rangers, 246-52 
Rangoon, Burma, 139, 166 
Ratliffe, Harry, 279 
Ravich, James E., 97 
Rea, Ethel Hague, 194 
Reader's Digest, 116 
Reardon, Mrs. Jean Banker, 266 
Recife, Brazil, 188 

Recreation Service, Red Cross, 40-1, 
76, 87-92, 129-31, 181-2; Alaska, 

20S-7J Aleutians, 211; Ascension 

Island, 192; Australia, 40-1, 53; 

Britain, 269; Burma, 172-8; Iceland, 

JQS-S; India, 142-9; Italy, 239-41; 

New Guinea, 226 ; North Africa, 87- 

92, 129-31 
Red Army, 183 

Red Cross Air-Evacuation Kit, 190 
Red Cross-Army Club, Cairo, 95 
Red Cross Blood Donor Service, 300-1 
Red Cross Courier, 95, 102, 117, 218, 

265, 276 

Red Cross Empire Club, Oran, 113 
Red Cross Fleet, 292 
Red Cross girls, 142-52, 158-60, 244-6 
Red Cross News, 293 
Red Cross Nursing Service, 305-8 
Red Sea, 84 
Reichenbach, Helen, 198 
Rendova, 223 

Rest homes (areas), 45-6, 49-53, 265-6 
Reykjavik, Iceland, 195 
Reynolds, Quentin, 106, 117 
Richards, Esther, 255-7 
Rickenbacker, Capt. Eddie, 190 
Rickey, Guida, 158; quoted, 158-60 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 189, 193 
Risdale, Margaret Ritchie, 120 
Road Block Club, 166 
Roberts, Orville E., 80-1, 86, 88-90, 92 
Robertson, Maxine, 166 
Robin, Annette, 218 ; quoted, 213-18 
Roblee, Margaret, 120 
Rock, The, 191-2 
Rockefeller Foundation, 194 
Rock Hill (S. C.) Chapter, 236 
Roesle, Agnes C., 305 
Roetgen, Germany, 285 
Rogan, Mary Elizabeth, 166, 172, 178 
Rollins College, 117 
Roloff, Louise, 206, 207 
Roman, Dr. Francisco, 28-9 
Rome, Italy, 241 
Romero, Cesar, 206 
Rommel, Gen. Erwin, 83-5, 103, 104, 

109, 118, 140 

Roosevelt, Col, Archie, 230 
Roosevelt, Col. Elliott, 117 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 105, 117, 119, 

163, 248 

Roosevelt, Mrs. Franklin D., 47, 52 
Ross, Jeannette, 141 
Ross, Paul, 86 
Rotorua, New Zealand, 49 
Rover girls, 121 
Roy, M. Louis, 113 
Royal Air Force, 109, 139, 140, 198, 

Royal Navy, 109 

Royce, Ruth, 170; quoted, 170-1 

Rumania, 83, 104 

Rupertus, Maj. Gen. W. H. (quoted), 


Russell, Lake F., 194 
Russia 82, 141, 182, 183, 189, 193, 296 
Kyan, Coletta, 47 

Sahara Desert, 114 

Sakhara, 96 

Saidor, 228, 230, 235 

St. John's, Newfoundland, 197 

St. Martin, Marie, 183, 184, 185 

St. Pierre, Rachel, 307 

Saivo, 292 

Salamaua, 221, 228, 229 

Salerno, Italy, 239, 247 

Salisbury, Col. Arthur G., 88 

Sal ween River, 162 

Sand Bowl football, 89-90 

San Francisco Chapter, 14, 236 

San Juan Chapter, 187 

Sansapor, 228, 235 

Santa Lucia, Windward Islands, 186 

Santa Cruz Chapter, 236 

Sardinia, 119, 240 

Saturday Evening Post, 117 

Sayre, Francis B., 23 

Sayre, Mrs, Francis B., 23 

Schelbe, Katherine, 108 

Schmid, Madeleine, 189 

Schoeni, Helen, 67 

Schuller, Elizabeth, 283-4 

Sco-Coc-Pen News, 8& 

Scofield, Carl Edward, 160, 165 

Scott, Albert A., 37, 48 

Sea of Galilee, 97 

Seagrave, (Dr.) Lt. Col. Gordon S., 

140, 166, 169 

Seavers, Mrs. Eleanor, 52 
Second Armored Division, 238 
Second Battalion, 169 
Second Corps, U.S. A., 118, 124 
Second Engineer Special Brigade, 

222-3, 236 
Semoiya, 201 
Senorosa, Jose H., 31 
Service, Robert W., 207 
SESB, 222-3, 236 
Seventh Army, U. S., 239, 275, 286 
Seventh Fleet, U. S., 221-2 
7th Marines, 232 
1 7th Marines, 232 
73rd Evacuation Hospital, 170, 172 
Seward, Alaska, 204 
Shanahan, Rev. Thomas A., 17, 19, 25, 

27-8, 30-4 

Shang Chen, Gen., 157 
Shanghai prison camps, 295-6 


Shaw, James P., 237-9 

Shaw, Rita, 287 

Sherman tanks, 85 

Sherwood, Lydla, 120 

Sherwood, Robert, 120 

'Sherwood, Virginia, 281 

Shillong, 173 

Shingbwiyang, Burma, 166 

Shows, Red Cross, 113-4; on wheels, 


Sicilian Straits, 84 
Sicily, no, 119, 189, 190, 237-40, 247, 

257, 275 

Sidi Barrani, 82, 86 
Siegfried Line, 287 
Sifford, Herbert, in 
Simpson, Mrs. Hope, 266*, 269, 285 
Sinatra, Frank, 220 
Singapore, 52, 139 
Singer, Margaret, 194 
Sinker, The, 267 
i6th Evacuation Hospital, 252 
Sixth Army: Chinese, 139; U. S., 235 
Sixth Marine Division, 74, 75 
Skagway, Alaska, 204 
Skarren, Charles L., Jr., 274, 275; 

quoted, 275-6 
Ski Chalet, 206-7 
Smith, Madge, 93-5 
Smith, Walter, 200 
Snowden, Lt. Kenneth, 161-2 
Snyder, James, in 
Solace, 7 
Solomon Islands, 38, 39, 49, 58, 73, 

222, 223 

Somerville, Margaret, 307 

Somewally, 67 

Sommer, Stanley L., 37, 45, 48 

Souk-Ahras, in 

South Atlantic Division, ATC, 188 

South Atlantic line, 188, 190 

South Beach, Alaska, 206 

South Pacific, 40, 45-9, 64, 65, 68, 222, 


South Sea Islands, 45 
Southwest Pacific, 36-8, 46, 54, 64, 65, 

68, 1 68, 220, 222, 227, 230, 235 
Spaatz, Lt. Gen. Carl, 119, 120 
Spaatz, Katharine, 120, 281 
Spaulding, Miriam L., 260 
Spealler, Louis R., 240 
Special Services, Army, 87-9, 114, 138, 

146-7, 149, 172, 176, 177, 186, 206, 


Spectator Point, Alaska, 207 
Spector, Stephanie (quoted), 220 
Sperry, George, 122 
Sphinx, 95, 96 
Spivey, Delmar T., 294; quoted, 294-5 


Stalag Luft III, 294 

Stanford University, 74 

Stars and Stripes, 116, 117, 130 

Stateside Inn, Kweilin, 160 

Station Hospital, India, 152 

Stead, Roland, 117 

Stein, Mar j one H., 266 

Steinhoff, Vivian, 197 

Steltz, Catherine, 51, 52 

Stephenson, Helen Lee, 194 

Stephensvilles, 197, 198 

Sternberg General Hospital, Manila, 

16, 23-4 

Stevens, Lillian, 143 
Stevenson, William E., no, 240-1, 259 
Stevenson, Mrs. William E., 253 
Stewart, "Jungle Jim," 56-7, 68 
Stilwell, Lt. Gen., 138-40, 157, 162, 163, 

169, 170, 172, 189; quoted, 138, 140 
Stimson, Henry L., 44, 257 
Stockdale, Helen G., 285 
Stout, Dorothy^ 285 
Straits of Messina, 239 
Striblmg, Sgt. Robert M., 175 
Strickland, Brig. Gen. Auby C, 88 
Strode, Dr. George K., 194 
Stryker, Harry L., 230 
Suez Canal, 82, 83, no 
Sulfa drugs, 12, 298 
Sullivan, Mary, 52 
Sulu Sea, 25 
Sumatra, 296 
Sun Yat-sen, Mme., 158 
Supplies, Red Cross, 71-4, no, 235-6, 


Survey Graphic, The, 64 
Sweeney, Dow, 48 
"Swing Patrol," 148-9 
Sydney, Australia, 31-4, 47-9, 53 
Sylvander, Mrs. Mary, 171 

Tacloban, Leyte, 236 

Tagap, Burma, 166, 173 

Talasea, 228 

Tamayo, Capt Julian C, 19, 20, 24-5, 

27, 30, 31, 33 
Tambu Bay, 229 
Tanambogo, 49, 72 
Tanner, Elizabeth, 101 
Tarr, Edna, 101 
Tate, Susan, 61 

Taylor, John, 228-9; quoted, 229-30 
Tebessa, n, 118 
Tedder, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur, 


Teek Hat, 151 
Tehran, 183, 184 
Tel Aviv, 96 
Templeman, Harold, 228 

Tenaru River, 73, 76, 78 

Tenney, Mrs. Vernon, 6 ; quoted, 6-7 

Tenth Air Force, 139, 144, 167 

roth Evacuation Hospital, 6r 

Terhune, Capt, 90, 91 

Territorial Guards, Hawaii, 7, 13 

Teteri Village, 230 

Thailand, 38, 139, 296 

Thain, Doris, 194 

Thala, 118, 124, 126 

Third Army, U. S., 280 

Third Battalion, 72 

Third Division, 244 

Third Ranger Battalion, 248, 250-2 

30th Infantry (Division), 238 

38th Evacuation Hospital, 253-5 

32nd Division, 49, 230 

36th Division, 244 

This Week Magazine, 270 

Thomas, Lowell, 190 

Thomas, Marion, 208 

Thomey, Leona, 171 

3 1 5th Service Group, 90 

Tiberias, 97 

Tiki, 49 

Tilden, Big Bill, 42 

Ting Kawk Sakan, Burma, 166 

Tobruk, 43, 82-3, 86 

Todd, Alice A., 141, 153; quoted, 153-6 

"Tojo's Ice Plant," 78 

Tomb of Rachel, 97 

Tompkins, Pauline, 288 

Torch Lake J( Mich.) Chapter, 236 

Torres Straits, 46 

Torrou, Capt. Leon, 117 

Town Hall programs, 115-18 

Townsend, Ann, 165, 171 

Townsend, Julia, 281 

Townsville, Australia, 31, 49, 50 

Townsville Chapter, 32 

Trailer kitchens, 274 

Trainmobile, 183-6 

Tram, Michael, 304 

Trans-Iranian Ry., 182-6 

Trans jordania, 96 

Travancore, 292 

Trice, Joseph N., 274 

Trinidad, 168, 186-7, 189 

Tripler General Hospital, 7-8 

Tripoli, 82, 84-6, 89, 98, 102, 103 

Tripolitania, 102, 103 

Trites, Hinson L., 53 

Trowbridge, A. Buel, 117-18 

Trtik, 222 

Tulagi, 49, 72 

Tunis, 86, 103, 109, 119, 124 

Tunisia, 82, 109, 112, 118-19, 128, 237, 

297, 299 
Twelfth Air Force, U. S., 118-24 

I2th General Hospital, North Africa, 


20th General Hospital, India, 165, 170-2 
2ist Quartermaster's, 164 
26th General Hospital, 243 
Tyrrhenian Sea, 239 

Underdown, Judy, 288 

U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 18 

USO, 186 

Unkefer, Dudley R, 224 ; quoted, 224-5 

Vacuum Oil Co., 37 

Val de Cano Field, 189 

Valdes, Maj. Gen. Basilio, 24 

Valdez, Alaska, 204 

Vandergrift, Maj. Gen. Alexander A., 


Vanishing Virginian, The, 56 
Varona, David T., 207, 208, 275 
Vaughn, Evelyn, 114 
Vella Lavella, 223 
Venafro, 246, 248-50 
Victorettes, 52 
Victory Club, Kunming, 160 
Vigrid, 306 

Vincent, Eleanor C (quoted) , 276 
Virgin Islands, 186 
Vladivostok, Russia, 296 
Vogue, 98 
Volunteer workers, 52, 53, 107, 182; 

Alaska, 205; Australia, 47-8, 54; 

Britain, 263; Filipino, 20-1, 23; 

Hawaii, 5 

Von Holt, Mrs. Herman, 5 
Von Seht, Polly, 184; quoted, 184-6 

Wacs, 260 

Wahler, Wenonah, 131 

Waikiki Beach, 4 

Wakde, 223, 228 

Wallabies, 41 

Wallace, Byron, 274 

Wallace, Henry A., 158 

Waller Field, 188-9 

Walsh, Joan, 286 

Walsh, Maj. Gen. Robert L., 189 

Walter Reed Hospital, 8, 9, 305 

Walters, Betty, 288 

Walz, Orry C., 187 

War Emergency Comlte, 189, 193 

Warren, William C., 37 

Washington Club, London, 260 

Waterbury, Frances, 241 ; quoted, 241-3 

Watson Lake, 208 

Wattenmaker, Ada, 288 

Wau, New Guinea, 47, 59, 228 

Wavell, Gen., 82, 83 

Weather data, 198-9 

Wei Li-huang, Marshal, 162 

Weiner, Morris, 232 

Weir, George, 304 

Wellington, New Zealand, 49, 75 

Well of the Magi, 97 

Wesselius, Walter, 7-8 

We Meet the Missions, 218 

"We're in a Cinemobile," 288 

Western Desert, 82, 86-8, 90, 92 

Weston, First Lt. Logan K, 178; 

quoted, 178-80 

West Virginia Wesleyan College, 80 
Weythman, Ruth, 171, 172 ; quoted, 171 
Whitehorse, Alaska, 204, 207, 208 
Wiener Neustadt, Austria, 104 
Wilkinson, Lt C. T., 61 
Williams, Irving, 16-37 
Williwa winds, 209, 211 
Willkie, Wendell, 248 
Wilman, Sgt. Paul, 94 
Wilson, Gen. Sir Henry Maitland, 


Winding, Dorothea, 189 
Windward Islands, 186 
Wingate, Brig. Gen. Charles Orde, 169 
Winged Citadtt, 170 

Wog Football Association, 89-90 

Wolff, Thomas J., 19 

Wood, David K., 37 

Wood, Lt. Col. Francis C., 171 

Wooloomooloo, Sydney, 34 

Wounded, care of, 190; Australia, 
63-4; Burma, 169; France, 277-8; 
Hawaii, 14; New Britain, 234; New 
Guinea, 60-4, 214-15, 226-7; North 
Africa, 128-34. See also Hospitals 

Wright, Capt. David, 265; quoted, 

Wright, William J., 37 

Wuntho, Burma, 140 

WVS, 263 

Yamai, 230 

Yangtze River, 162 ** 

Yinger, Eleanor, 121 ; quoted, 121-4 

YMCA, 292, 294, 296 

Yount, Col. Paul F., 183 

Yugoslavia, 83 

Zamzam, 57